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A Yahoo sign is seen at the company's headquarters Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Sunnyvale, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Yahoo's email hack may be one of the biggest ever


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WATCH: You've almost definitely been hacked. 

If you have an email address, credit card or social media account, chances are you've been involved in a hack.

In the latest in a string of high-profile hacks, Yahoo confirmed this week a "state-sponsored" hacker stole information from 500 million of its accounts in 2014. 

For perspective, half a billion people, is well-beyond the U.S. population. Five-hundred million people is how many people it takes to fill up 7,143 football stadiums, according to the People Quantifier app.

In a message to users, Yahoo urged people to update their security settings and said they were taking action to protect them.

To complicate matters, Verizon is in the process of buying out Yahoo, and apparently the breach wasn't mentioned in negotiations.  For now, Verizon said they would wait to see what an investigation turned up.

Recode first reported the massive breach was worse than expected and the Wall Street Journal later reported that the "state-sponsored actor" Yahoo referred to in its disclosure may have ties to Russia.

Despite the gravity, some feel the news isn't super relevant given Yahoo's fall from grace. 

Though the tech company said financial information didn't get taken, some of details likely to have been scraped include names, emails, phone numbers, birthdays, and answers to security questions.

What's worse is that other than regularly changing your passwords or using a password manager, security experts say there's not much else you can do to protect yourself.

And they say the only way to really protect data is with encryption technology, but not all companies are doing that yet.

And Yahoo is far from alone in getting hacked. In 2016 alone, there have been nearly 700 breaches across multiple industries, according to the most recent data from ITRC Breach.

Some of the biggest names to get hacked in recent years include The New York Times, Anthem Inc., Community Health Systems, T-Mobile, Hilton, Home Depot, Target, Dropbox, AOL, eBay, LivingSocial, Slack, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Breachers are so common, people don't really freak out anymore.

But there's a bigger issue here. Even if you haven't thought about or used your Yahoo account in a while, there's a good chance that you've reused the password you use to log in, or the security questions that are protecting your account.

If hackers get a hold of that information, they might be able to gain access to accounts that you do use. Maybe you reused your password for your Paypal account. Maybe you reused a security question for your Amazon account.

Once hackers get access to multiple accounts, they can start to pull together a dossier on you. And they can sell it. 

Let us know.

Check out Circa's other coverage on hackers: 


For more news you need, check out the 60 Second Circa. 

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