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Casual dating website ‘Adult FriendFinder’ has been hacked, leaking data from as many as 3.9 million accounts, according to an investigation by Channel 4 News.
With 63 million registered users, UK Business Insider claims Adult FriendFinder is one of the largest casual dating websites around, comparing it to Tinder which had 50 million users late last year. Although 3.9 million is a fraction of the total membership, it is still a large breach, and the specific details released are more personal than your average username and address hack.
Indeed along with information such as email address, date of birth, address and username, a spreadsheet circulating with the stolen data is said to contain other personal snippets due to the nature of the site, including sexual preferences, sexual orientation and whether users are “seeking extramarital affairs.”
A large concern here, highlighted by Channel 4, is the potential for blackmail, beyond the usual phishing attempts that data breaches sometimes result in. The news report notes that the spreadsheet contains addresses linked to government and armed forces personnel.
“Where you’ve got names, dates of birth, ZIP codes, then that provides an opportunity to actually target specific individuals whether they be in government or healthcare for example, so you can profile that person and send more targeted blackmail-type emails,” Charlie McMurdie of PwC and a former Metropolitan Police head said.
While The Register notes that Adult FriendFinder has not published any information about the breach on its own site, the California based firm did issue a statement to Channel 4 News, saying, “FriendFinder Networks Inc… understands and fully appreciates the seriousness of the issue. We have already begun working closely with law enforcement and have launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert.”
“We pledge to take the appropriate steps needed to protect our customers if they are affected.”
Author Alan Martin, ESET