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Did Russia kill the sale of Yahoo?

Credit: Niall Carson via AP

Yahoo's fall from grace over the past several years has been well documented, and it led to Verizon agreeing to buy the former industry leader for $4.8 billion earlier this year. While that is still a remarkable sum given Yahoo's recent struggles, it's more than $41 billion less than Microsoft offered in February of 2008. According to recent reports, however, it looks like Russia may have poked a few holes in the Internet giant's golden parachute.

As The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima and Brian Fung report, Verizon is re-evaluating the deal in light of a recent security breach in which information from roughly five hundred million Yahoo user accounts was stolen. The breach was discovered back in August and Yahoo has since concluded that "state-sponsored" hackers were responsible, with the FBI believing that it was the work of the Russian government. While the Russians have not taken credit for the hack, and likely never will, it's in keeping with a recent trend where the foreign power is thought to have breached "the networks of government agencies, defense contractors, media organizations, think tanks and political parties in the United States and Europe."

While that breach in security is troubling for Yahoo, the threat it poses to their deal with Verizon is, perhaps, of more immediate concern. As Verizon General Counsel Craig Silliman said of the breach, "We're looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact they believe it's not." If Verizon concludes that the breach has altered the value of Yahoo in a material way, then they can either call off the deal or ask for further concessions. Claire Atkinson of the New York Post suggested recently that those concessions could approach $1 billion, though Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam called such rumors "total speculation."

With the sale tentatively scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year, time is running out for the two companies to decide what impact, if any, the breach will have on their arrangement. As Yahoo noted, "Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry," so they are not the only ones to suffer from it. But while that's probably true, the latest breach comes at a terrible time for them.

The news isn't all bad for Yahoo, however. While the breach may harm their deal with Verizon, any damage done will not be nearly as destructive as if they'd attempted to hide the breach until later in the negotiations. By addressing it now, they will likely still pay a price but that cost will not be as catastrophic as if they had attempted to hide the problem.

What's true for Yahoo is often true for us as well. The problems of our past have a funny way of showing back up when we can least afford to address them. Satan has a habit of allowing our sins to fester until we think the threat has subsided, only to then bring them to light when it best suits his purposes. As Christians in a culture that almost expects hypocrisy from us—and often for good reason—we can't afford to give the enemy that kind of ammunition.

That's why it's so vital for us to address the sin in our lives when it happens, confessing it to God in true repentance. Often times, that decision will still have consequences for our lives that can be difficult to endure, but those penalties will pale in comparison to the cost that comes from attempting to cover up our mistakes.

Is there any sin in your life that you've deceived yourself into believing will never see the light of day? Scripture is clear that "there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open" (Luke 8:17). Satan won't miss the opportunity to use it and our heavenly Father won't allow that which separates us from him to remain unchecked. One of them will make sure that we have to address those mistakes eventually. Who it will be, however, is often up to us. Choose wisely.

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