SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo detected evidence that a hacker had broken into its computer network at least 18 months before it launched an investigation that discovered personal information had been stolen from about 500 million user accounts.
The timeline outlined in a regulatory filing raises further questions about why it took Yahoo so long to realize the severity of its security breakdown. It also could provide Verizon Communications with reason to revise or terminate its $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo's online services.
Yahoo disclosed the size of the breach seven weeks ago. At that time, Yahoo traced its findings to an inquiry opened in late July, around the time Verizon announced its agreement to buy Yahoo's email service, digital advertising tools and sections devoted to news, sports, finance and entertainment.
Verizon says it wasn't informed of the hacking attack until a few days before Yahoo told its users in late September.
In its regulatory filing late Wednesday, Yahoo acknowledged the company first became aware of the hack in late 2014. Yahoo said its board is now investigating how much was known back in 2014.
Verizon declined to comment on Yahoo's latest disclosure. The company has previously said it is re-evaluating its deal with Yahoo because the breach could alienate a large swath of users who may rely on Yahoo's email and other services less frequently in order to protect their privacy.