By Doug Gross, CNN
(CNN) — When a website that claims more than a half-billion monthly visitors gets hacked, users pay attention.
So when we wrote Thursday about hackers who published login information for more than 450,000 Yahoo users, readers had plenty to say about it.
Dozens of your comments hovered around a central theme: Who still uses Yahoo anyway?
Selendis said: “hmmm, I may be on that list. except that it would be so old, the email and password wouldn’t get you anywhere. have not logged into a yahoo account in years. don’t even remember what email address it would have had.”
Maekju80: “I’m surprised that many people still use Yahoo. Wonder if those same users still have 8-Track tapes too?”
prelude066: “Who still has a yahoo account? Over 50 year old white guys who haven’t checked it in 6 years… “
Yahoo may not have the digital sex appeal it did back in the glory days of the ’90s dotcom boom. And, to be sure, recent months have been tough on the venerable Web giant. The company cut 2,000 jobs in April as part of an overhaul by then-CEO Scott Thompson. Then, less than a month later, Thompson himself was out after the discovery that he had padded his resume with a phony college degree.
But having been perhaps the Web’s first major portal, Yahoo holds onto a massive worldwide base of users. Its e-mail service is the world’s second-most popular, behind Microsoft’s Hotmail, although Google’s Gmail has been gaining big chunks of ground in recent years.
Many of you blamed Yahoo for not having taken tougher security measures:
Sixnard: “What’s annoying is that there are companies who do this right, but so many other companies who aren’t paying attention. Amazon, for example, assumes that their systems will be broken into despite all precautions, and it stores personal information encrypted and on separate servers so multiple break-ins and extensive correlation would be needed to obtain useful information.”
They also report break-ins when they occur with full details, so anyone else who’s interested can take steps to prevent further exploits. People know how to do this, they just chose not to.
In a written statement Thursday, Yahoo said they were fixing the exploit the hackers used and changing the passwords of users who were hit. They said that less than 5% of the breached e-mail accounts had their active passwords attached to them.
Some readers felt like the story was overblown and that hacks like this are, unfortunately, part of online life:
garyguy: “Seems only the biggies get headlines. Actually there were new reports today that an Android forum and an Nvidia forum were also hacked. It’s getting to the point where you’ll need a password to use your password.”
Cat Nippy: “There are always security risks in technology and communication. That doesn’t mean we should all retreat to the Dark Ages and start sending out information on stone tablets. Over-react much?”
And, of course, some of you decided to have some fun with it:
TwitHappens: “Now someone can finally respond to that Nigerian lawyer who wants give me $12 million if I just give him my checking acct number…”
Richard Williams: “Oh great now someone is going to make fantasy football trades without my knowledge”
Finally, on a more useful note, many readers wanted to know where they could find out if their account was one of the ones that was compromised.
CNN Tech is not linking to the hackers’ Web page. But security firm Sucuri Labs has created a page with a tool it says will tell users whether their e-mail address was leaked.