Yahoo Admits It Secretly Hacked All User Accounts For US Intelligence

Tyler Durden's picture

Just days after admitting that some 500 millions of its email accounts were hacked (allegedly Russians, of course), the Yahoo confessional continues as Reuters reports, somewhat stunningly that, Yahoo secretly built software to search all of its customers' incoming emails for US intel officials. Yahoo's reaction to this: we are "a law abiding company."


Following claims of state-sponsored attacks of its customers' email accounts, Reuters reports, Yahoo also hacked its own customers' accounts...

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.


The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.


Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency's demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

According to the two former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook. This suggests that the previous news of a massive hack at Yahoo previously blamed on Russians may have been all the doing of Marissa Meyer herself, under pressure by the NSA.

Mayer and other executives ultimately decided to comply with the directive last year rather than fight it, in part because they thought they would lose, said the people familiar with the matter.


Yahoo in 2007 had fought a FISA demand that it conduct searches on specific email accounts without a court-approved warrant. Details of the case remain sealed, but a partially redacted published opinion showed Yahoo's challenge was unsuccessful.

Some Yahoo employees were upset about the decision not to contest the more recent directive and thought the company could have prevailed, the sources said.

They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company's security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo's email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.


The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo's security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.


When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users' security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.

U.S. phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program.

"I've never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a 'selector,'" said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance issues for 20 years before moving to Stanford University this year. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information.


"It would be really difficult for a provider to do that," he added.

But don't think for a minute it was only Yahoo: as Reuters adds, "it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information."

Alphabet Inc's Google and Microsoft Corp, two major U.S. email service providers, did not respond to requests for comment.

Which probably means we can expect more dramatic revalations at that "other" free email company.

"Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand. Yahoo declined any further comment.

So - to clarify - after "Russian" hackers hacked 500 million Yahoo accounts, Yahoo itself hacked ALL user accounts.

Paging Verizon? Is this material enough to break the deal?

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AllTimeWhys's picture

Privacy is long dead

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.


The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.


"Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States..."

...except the Fourth Amendment of the US Constiution, supposedly the highest law in the nation..


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NoDebt's picture

"It's just a moldy old piece of paper."


NoDebt's picture

Google just released the following statement:  Ha!  Bunch of pikers.  We had that 10 years ago.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.


-Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 
Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Author of, War is a Racket!




...five of the questions I need to hear answers to before I would consider supporting Trump, or any politician.


1)  Would or could you ever support amending The Bill of Rights?  If so, which, how, and why?

max2205's picture

When does Verizon back away from the b/o bid?

roxyNL's picture



I told you, we already live in 1984 !


hedgeless_horseman's picture


I am sure the ACLU will be all over this...


Any minute now...


Any minute...


Troy Ounce's picture


Kindly email for customer complaints:

Email: or

pods's picture

This whore is desperate to make the numbers work. She is not even good at it.

Yahoo is that old whore who sits at the bar knowing nobody is going to ask for her service, yet she has to try her best to be ready if someone comes calling.

Of course, the only one who appoaches her is the US government, the metaphorical guy with a camera, wad of cash, and a donkey.


BennyBoy's picture


Everything online, and who wrote it, is stored at NSA for at least the last 15 years. E V E R Y T H I N G.

All "Social" media is spy media and censored media. Especially ZH.

Paranoid much?

VWAndy's picture

 Not paranoid just awake.

Ballin D's picture

Agreed. The stunning part is that they aren't skimming the emails they nsa/fbi requested as they pass through the spy agencies' hubs on their way to and from Yahoo. Must be looking for encrypted emails or something along those lines.


Either that or the agency in question wants to accomplish the same thing the nsa is already doing.

BennyBoy's picture


NSA has copies of all 30,000 emails Hillary deleted.

Oh yeah, and copies of all these comments and who you are.

Knock! Knock! Crash! We don't need no stinkin' warrant!

Agent P's picture

Are you kidding?  Think of the cost synergies with combining spying platforms...has to be worth at least $0.06 in pro forma EPS!!! 

Handful of Dust's picture

This stuiff really works so don't knock it all of you Deplorable conspiracy theorists.

See how it thwarted the Orlando massacre.


Ok, just kidding the gullable.

In truth, the military, the nsa, and on and on are built to suppress USA citizens and deprive them of their 2nd Amendment rights, and NOT to catch muslim tearrists. It's very clear that's true. If 62 year old John Smith, American citizen, hard working applies for a gun permit it takes forever for them to "approve" even though his biggest infraction is probably a speeding ticket here and there.

Whereas when Ali Ahkbar applies for his deadly assault rifle with 1,000 rounds of killer ammo, it's promptly approved and handed to him with a smile.

Most of these poltiicans need to be voted out and replaced with Americans who care about Americans, jobs, GDP for the 90%, etc.

konadog's picture

What are these elections you reference?  Do you mean when Diebold declares the deep state stooge the winner?

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

BULLSHIT... With all the fallout regarding NSA, they could have easily fought this...

The problem with all these fuckers is they care more about government sugar than users or shareholders.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Why only sniff email traffic, when you can already sniff the entire unencrypted network.

VWAndy's picture

 It needs an or else. Other than that its pretty solid. An or we will hang you by the neck until dead would prolly do it.

Sam.Spade's picture

If privacy is dead, so is freedom.  Because one is essential for the other.

Consider this conversation between one of TPTB and a Federal Prosecutor:


"With enough data, my lawyers can always find a crime. They'll prosecute. Bury anyone under legal motions, make his life miserable. Maybe even send him up for some felony."

"Even if he didn't do anything?"

"Of course he did something. We got 100,000 laws on the books, twice that in regs. Somewhere, sometime, by accident or intentionally, he broke one. We get a moving x-ray of his life, all we have to do is find it."


That's power.

And you won't know they have it until they want something from you.

Like keeping track of your best friend. 

Or your wife.

Soon you will have to choose:  Be open, be above board, be legal, and have the government own you, or protect your freedom by conducting all your communications, commerce, and travel anonymously, in the digital shadows. 

There will shortly be no other option.

Of course, the government will want you to choose the former, so they will make the latter illegal.  The choice will then become:  Stay a data serf or become a free cyber criminal.

By the way, the quote is from Thieves Emporium.  It's a primer on privacy in the age of the Internet written in the form of a fast-paced novel. Why it's important, how you can begin to acheive it, and where to go to learn more.

Think Everyman Hacker vs The Deep State.  Or Atlas Shrugged brought into the 21st century.

The Daily Anarchist loved it and called it 'Barely Fiction'.  The editors of The Daily Bell thought it was so good they serialized it.  And one of the directors of the Bitcoin Foundation said of it "I recommend you read this book".

Readers at Amazon must agree as they rate it 4.6 in over 100 reviews.  Ditto for readers at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, though without quite so many comments.

For your own good and the future of your children, you need to read it while you still can, before a moving x-ray of your life gets locked in some NSA database.

zeronetwork's picture

NSA needs to know how many people are enlarging their penis.

Jim_Rockford's picture

I'd like to know when anyone "won" the Medal Of Honor.

thecondor's picture

Didn't Huma wiener Abadein have a joint yahoo account with Carlos Danger that she had classified emails forwarded to?


Oh ya


VWAndy's picture

 At some point a person with integrity must say I will not be a party to it. Just like with the FBI. Selling your soul for a few fiats? OK lots of fiats. The point is they sold out.

chunga's picture

Treasonous gov agencies have every email on earth except, of course, Secretary Clinton.

VWAndy's picture

 Not just the US government but Id guess all of them. Its global. Basic logic.

shovelhead's picture

I see you have an interest in antique Americana.

ss123's picture

The wheels are flying off of, everything.

JLee2027's picture

This bitch should resign over this and they should take away whatever golden parachute they have in place for her. Oh the lawsuits that ANYONE can now file against Yahoo are endless.

VWAndy's picture

 The problem with going to a court is you will be in a court thats been corrupted to shit. Sorry.

Fishy Rickster's picture

Yes, if the 'war' on drugs doesn't work fast enough, then import muzzies by the boatload, open the borders and whistle as they pass.  Wait for the inevitable bad manners from these guests and slam more rights shut against the lawabiding.

At what point in this deep state kabuki will we finally kick their asses out of our lives and end muslim immigration and their failed war on drugs?

WayPastCaring's picture

"against unreasonable searches"

It depends on what someone's definition of unreasonable is ... and don't forget the definition of "is" is still up for debate.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Sure, but the idea was that it would be a judge making the decisions, on an indvidual basis, and if we didn't like his record, then we could vote him out, not some Secret Rubber-Stamp Court.

" warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

WayPastCaring's picture

I was being facetious. But, concerning judges: "Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as stated in the Constitution." So WE can't vote them out, not the important ones, not the ones who decide settled law.

But we can vote out local judges, but did you know that most often you can only vote to keep them or dump them and you cannot vote for a replacement? And good luck to the citizen who wants to find a comprehensive summary of a judge's decisions - for the most part they don't exist. It's done that way on purpose.

Conclusion: The United States is corrupt beyond fixing politically and I think only a collapse can paradoxically save it.

pods's picture

Correct conclusion.  

The problem is not that they DID do it, the problem is that they CAN do it. 

Fuck all of them.  

Might host a TOR server when I get my gigabit line.

So tired of hearing how they seek everything, all the time. 

Like a paranoid meth head.  That is the system of government we live under.


hedgeless_horseman's picture


Might host a TOR server when I get my gigabit line.

It won't help.

Nobody For President's picture

Thanks HH. I sent Yahoo an email signed as an inactive Yahoo mail user...


Jacks Nipple's picture

Maybe it's time to think that once the information is on their server, possesion is 90% ownership, it's not yours anymore. We are using their infrastructure.


Was it that genius Adolf who said, (paraphrasing of course) "never write anything down really important, only speak it personally to the intended recipient"


you gotta love ANYONE who kicks out the rothchilds.

wahrheit's picture

Except not during a state of emergency when the Constitution is officially, by law, suspended. Like it is now and has been for the last 2 decades minimum - Patriot Acts 1 & 2, NDAA for starters.

So if you ever pulled the 4th amendment argument out in court, that's what would probably be calmly explained to you. And as you followed the trail of legislation, you'll see that the legislators, who we the people supposedly voted for, all signed off on this shit.

That's how fucked this whole thing is. FORGET the Constitutional arguments because they're moot, invalid and more importantly, probably an intended distraction to keep you from stockpiling armaments, ammunition, uniting as one and cleaning the Legislature house.

The guillotines might have to come out. They have the upperhand by far in terms of surveillance and overt military force but crazier shit has happened in history. Unless they wrote it that way to give us false hope... Ugh

J S Bach's picture

Yahoo! is for Yahoos anyway.

JRobby's picture

No surprise here. It's all about profiling for the past 10 years, who is going to lose their temper this fall.

It should be all of us. But I guess we will see in November.

t0mmyBerg's picture

Freedom is long dead then.  And if Yahoo is doing it, you can rest assured that Google and Microsoft and Apple and everyone else is doing it as well.  The state is your enemy

roxyNL's picture

I would put ((( Facebook ))) at the top !

zeronetwork's picture

95% don't care if their privacy is compromised. The persons alphabet agencies are looking for probable are not in the 95 percent and don't use Yahoo!'s

RiverRoad's picture

Check out

swass's picture

"Privacy is long dead"

Disagree.  It is just being held hostage and we need to take it back.  The benefit we have of all of this surveillance is that now there is a strong movement to make privacy (and by extension, security) easier and more attainable by the masses.  There are now significant development efforts in trying to provide people with the ability to have privacy by default, even though there is going to have to be an acknowledgement and shift in society as a whole toward privacy.  If you meant privacy is dead in the mind of most people; I agree.  But it's not really dead, just not valued by people at the moment over posting what they ate for lunch on twitter.