Yahoo! Mail! down?! Great! timing! as! more! US! senators! dogpile! hacked! web! giant!

Enjoy the sounds of a thousand heads at Verizon slamming into a thousand desks

Yahoo!'s embattled mail service was dealt another blow Tuesday when an outage hit users worldwide.

Data from outage monitors DownDetector and Outage.Report back up multiple reports from users that the service was knocked offline for a period of time earlier this morning US time, or afternoon for those in Europe.

A spokesperson for Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web offered the following:

We are aware that some Yahoo Mail users are experiencing issues. Our engineers are working on a fix to restore functionality as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The downtime only adds to an already sizable pile of problems for Yahoo! with its free mail service. Last week's disclosure of a massive hack exposing some 500 million user accounts has now reached the point of possible legal actions.

Following demands that US financial watchdog the SEC be called in to probe the matter, a group of US Senators is also asking Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer to provide them with an explanation as to why the Purple Palace took so long to find and disclose the hack, and what they plan to do to prevent future intrusions.

The letter [PDF], sent by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), requests a formal briefing from Mayer and Yahoo!.

"This breach is the latest in a series of data breaches that have impacted the privacy of millions of American consumers in recent years, but it is by far the largest," the group writes.

"Consumers put their trust in companies when they share personal and sensitive information with them, and they expect all possible steps to be taken to protect that information."

Verizon, which has a standing agreement to acquire Yahoo! for $4.8bn, has so far declined to comment beyond a brief statement it issued last week. ®

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