Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) said that it’s working with federal law enforcement agencies to track down the perpetrators of an attempted cyber crime against it. The largest U.S. web portal reported yesterday that it recently identified a coordinated effort to break into some users’ Yahoo Mail accounts with the help of malicious software. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) said it will prosecute the criminals responsible for the attack once found.


Yahoo doesn’t name the third party

The Sunnyvale, California-based company said that hackers gained access to the list of user names and passwords through a third-party database. There was no evidence that the breach took place in Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s own systems. A company spokeswoman, DJ Anderson, said that the third-party database contained user names and passwords that they had used to access Yahoo Mail and other sites. Anderson didn’t reveal the name of the third party or how many accounts were affected. She urged users to change passwords regularly.

The company responded immediately by asking affected users, by sending them SMS and notifications, to change their passwords. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has added a second sign-in verification system to help users re-secure their accounts. Research firm Gartner said that free Internet e-mail accounts are extremely vulnerable to attacks because they don’t push users to regularly change their passwords.

Yahoo should resolve its own issues first


The attack on Yahoo Mail is an uncomfortable twist for the company. Last week, when Gmail was down for a few minutes, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) poked fun at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), ignoring its own missteps and security breaches in the past. The Marissa Mayer-led company had to apologize for poking fun at Google later. Yahoo Mail has faced several other issues in the past. Customers have widely criticized Marissa Mayer for making changes in the organization design of Yahoo Mail. In December, Mayer apologized after users began to face issues like being shut out, lost messages and inability to access other email features.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares skidded 1.42% in pre-market trading Friday to $34.81.