Yahoo Data Breach: The Real Winners Aren’t the Ones Asking For $100, But Those About to Receive $30M

Published on February 9, 2020

Here we are nearly eight-years later following the Yahoo! data breach, where the world saw a large tech giant (yet again) fall victim (hard) to a series of data breaches originating back in the early 2010s.

Consequently, thanks to the class action lawsuit against Yahoo, the company has finally reached a proposed settlement, which you may have received an email about back in September.

Yet, our curiosity extends deeper into the disgusting $30 million the legal team is about to net (earn) for their efforts in resolving the matter…if you even call it that.

This settlement is perhaps one of the most insulting resolutions to an asset that will forever outweigh the monetary value of cash: our data.

RECAP: What You Need to Do If You Want Your Settlement Money

However, if you haven’t already filed a claim pursuant to the email instructions, now is your time to act, because time-is-of-the-essence.

Earlier this week, you may have received that email from Yahoo alerting you to the settlement for the data breach, so listen up because now is your time to act.

Yahoo! which is now part of Verizon, agreed under the terms of the proposed class action settlement, to pay $117.5 million out of the fund to settle any and all filed claims dating back to five different data breaches that occurred from early 2012 through 2016, affecting up to 3 billion users across the globe. So get to filing.

Were You An Active Yahoo! User During 2012-2016?

Step one is to determine whether you had an active Yahoo account between 2012 and 2016. If you fall into this category, you can file a claim online or by mail, with the option to add two-years of free credit monitoring.

Have Free Credit Monitoring Already? Then File For ‘Alternative Compensation’

If you can show that you already have credit monitoring, for example, from the Equifax data breach, you can adjust your filed claim requesting “alternative compensation,” which will award you a whopping $100. Don’t get your steak knives out yet.

While that number could go up to $358.80 or more, this award is dependent upon the number of people who file claims. In other words, your cut depends on how many other people read this article and the countless other instructions out there.

Have You Incurred Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

Traditionally speaking on data breaches, there almost certainly out-of-pocket expenses for us consumers. Albeit digital security services, identity theft mitigation, or even post-breach fallout.

The Real Winner Isn’t Holding $100…They’re Holding $30M

But whether consumers can recall, itemize, and document specific losses suffered as a result of the breaches, adding up to $25,000 of reimbursement, there’s something else at play here — the legal team which secured the settlement.

But what’s wrong with the nature surrounding this settlement?


You would think when it comes to data, justice and resolution would be the only goals here. Unfortunately, the truth couldn’t be farther from the courtroom.

The settlement isn’t about justice. It’s about who can capitalize off an incident that affects all of us. The settlement only allows for up to 194 million Yahoo! users in the U.S. and Israel who were affected by the breaches, to claim compensation.

If you think sortwise, riddle me this.

How can anyone claim this settlement is anything but an absolute joke?

The settlement fund only allows for up to 194 million Yahoo users in the US and Israeli who were affected by the breaches to claim compensation.

Yet, the breaches impacted around 3 billion Yahoo! users.

3. Billion. People.

So where does the rest of compensation go? Into the pockets of the legal team. And as a lawyer myself, I even find this disgusting.

Per recently filed court documents, legal counsel for the class who secured this insulting breach settlement currently awaits for U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s final signature on the approval, which will award them the fees.

Commenting on the settlement to CNBC, cybersecurity expert Joseph Steinberg predicted that the actual amount of compensation Yahoo users will receive is likely to be far lower.

“Everybody probably has free credit monitoring at this point,” said Steinberg. “If you’re expecting to get $100, you’re probably going to be significantly disappointed.”

But at the end of the day, if you want to reserve the right to sue over these breaches in the future, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator by March 6.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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