Contributed by: kellyseal Wednesday, June 03 2015 @ 06:42 am
The hacking of large company databases for personal and compromising information is on the rise. First it was giant retailer Target, then entertainment studio Sony, followed by a few of the major insurance companies - and it has been reported that as many as 200 companies have been hacked in the last few years, its victims their own customers and employees.
But this week, in perhaps the most personal of the recent data hacks, dating website Adult Friend Finder (a service for those looking for casual friendships and sexual hook-ups), has announced that its customer data has also been breached.
Channel 4 News in the UK has reported that the personal information of 3.9 million of AdultFriendFinder.com’s members was discovered in an online forum for hackers, including users’ sexual preferences, e-mail addresses, dates of birth and, in some cases, whether they were looking to cheat on their spouses. The company has notified law enforcement agencies, but said that no financial or password information seems to have been stolen.
AdultFriendFinder is different from traditional dating sites in that the information people provide is much more personal. When a user signs up, the services asks him/ her to detail his interests and, based on those criteria, matches people for sexual encounters. The site, which boasts 64 million members, claims to have "helped millions of people find traditional partners, swinger groups, threesomes, and a variety of other alternative partners."
So customers who joined the website to anonymously post their sexual preferences for hook-ups might now face being exposed to family members, co-workers, bosses, and even spouses or partners, compromising their personal lives.
One controversial hacker took advantage of the now-exposed data to identify over Twitter and personally name four different men who were using the dating site – including one who was married. Because the data is now accessible to anyone, many more people could be publicly shamed as a result.
According to CNN Money: “The breach was carried out by a hacker who goes by the moniker ROR[RG]. In an online hacker forum, he said he blackmailed Adult FriendFinder, telling the site he would expose the data online unless the company paid him $100,000.”
"Until the investigation is completed, it will be difficult to determine with certainty the full scope of the incident, but we will continue to work vigilantly to address this potential issue and will provide updates as we learn more from our investigation," FriendFinder's statement said.
According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers noted that as awareness of the breach spread on Friday May 22nd, more copies of the files were appearing online, meaning more people potentially had access to the data.