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Flowers bloom in front of a Yahoo sign at the company's headquarters Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Sunnyvale, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(Bloomberg) – Yahoo! Inc. said the personal information of at least 500 million users was stolen in an attack on its accounts in 2014, exposing half of its roughly 1 billion users ahead of Verizon Communications Inc.’s planned acquisition of the web portal’s assets.

The attacker was a “state-sponsored actor,” and stolen information may include names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and possibly security questions and answers, Yahoo said Thursday in a statement. The continuing investigation doesn’t indicate the theft of payment data or bank account information, or unprotected passwords, the company said. Affected users are being notified and their accounts are being secured, it also said.

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