How to secure your Yahoo Mail account properly

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 31, 2014

Yahoo released a statement yesterday in which it notified users of its mail service Yahoo Mail that it noticed a coordinated "effort to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo Mail accounts".

According to Yahoo's preliminary analysis, it does not appear as if the data was dumped from Yahoo servers directly. The company assumes that the data has been collected from third-party databases instead.

The attack used a list of username and password combinations to try and gain access to Yahoo Mail accounts.

It appears that the information the attackers were after were names and email addresses of the most recent sent emails from affected accounts.

Yahoo has reset email passwords of affected accounts as a consequence, and is using sign-in verification to enable affected users to secure their accounts.

How to secure a Yahoo Mail account

The password is the most important part of the equation. If it is weak, it can be easily guessed or brute-forced. Weak in this case means that it has a low character count, may include a dictionary word or names, and does not use general password security suggestions:

  • A password should have a lot of characters. My suggestion would be to pick at least 16, but the more the better.
  • It should contain a mixture of upper- and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
  • It should not contain dictionary words or names.
  • It should not be a sequence that you find on your keyboard, such as qwerty or 123456

You can change your Yahoo Mail password under Settings > Accounts > change password. To get to the settings, click on the menu button next to your username in the top right corner of the Yahoo Mail website.

yahoo mail change password
change password

Once you have set a secure password, you may want to explore additional security options that are provided by Yahoo.

You can for instance set up sign-in verification for your account on this page.

Sign-in verification adds a second layer of protection to your account. Even if a hacker or thief manages to get your account password, access is only granted if the second-sign in verification code is also known to them.

Note: This works only if you link a mobile device capable of receiving SMS to your account.

Sign-in verification kicks in whenever Yahoo recognizes a login attempt from a device or location that is unknown to the service (meaning that it was not used before).

To set up sign-in verification, do the following:

  1. Once you are on the page linked above, click on "Set up your second sign-in verification" under Sign-in and Security".
  2. You will be asked for the account password again.
  3. Click on the get started link here.
  4. If you have not added a mobile to your account yet, you are asked to do so. Select the country you reside in and enter your mobile phone number.
  5. You will receive a verification SMS.
  6. Once done, you have two options: Use either security questions or a supported mobile number for verification, or use only your mobile number for verification.


Additional information about setting up Second sign-in verification on Yahoo are available on Yahoo's help pages.

Note: If you have set up the feature, you may need to create so called app passwords for select applications and devices, as not all may support sign-in verification.

Other Tips

You can create a sign-in seal which is displayed to you during sign in. The idea here is that it will allow you to spot fake Yahoo sign in forms as the custom image or text that you have selected won't be displayed on those. It protects against phishing attacks mostly though.

The recent login activity page can also be useful. You can check and see the locations and devices used to sign in to your Yahoo account. If you spot a sign in from a location you never been to for instance, you should change your account password immediately.

You may also want to check the app and website connections page regularly. This page lists all apps or websites that you have linked to your account. You find the permissions that these apps have listed underneath each app. It is recommended to remove any app or website that you do not use anymore from here by clicking on the remove link next to it.

Those are just the precautionary measures that you can do on Yahoo directly. It goes without saying that you should also take care of your system's security by installing proper antivirus software, using a firewall, and common sense when on the Internet.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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