The personal and romantic information of 4 million individuals has been exposed following the hack of Adult FriendFinder, an adult-oriented online dating site.
Adult FriendFinder advertises itself as the leading Internet “hook-up” site and boasts more than 60 million members worldwide. Most members aim at remaining anonymous due to the private nature of the information shared; however, for many this anonymity has been lost following the breach.
Email addresses and in some cases usernames, gender, birth date, state of residence, postal code, language preference, other personal details and IP addresses were leaked and quickly posted on the Dark Web. The hacker responsible has since sold the uncensored database for the Bitcoin equivalent of $17,000 USD.
There is no evidence that passwords or financial information were compromised.
Already, leaked email addresses have been tied to users’ Facebook pages — exposing their true identities. This connection may be used to tarnish individuals’ reputations and could enable extortionists to make credible threats to such users.
The Adult FriendFinder hack serves as a crucial wakeup call to anyone participating in online dating.
Online dating holds a plethora of privacy concerns. Major dating sites have been compromised in the past and will be increasingly targeted moving forward. These sites also include an abundance of basic personal information, romantic information and financial information.
What can online daters do to protect themselves?
- Create a strong and unique password.
- Use an anonymous username, rather than your real name.
- Do not disclose your house or apartment number or street address.
- Read the security policy before signing up. Make sure you can completely delete your account at some point and that your personal information is encrypted.
- Delete any inactive dating profiles you may have.
- Avoid providing payment card information.
- Stay alert for potential romantic scams.
Those individuals possibly impacted by the Adult FriendFinder breach should take additional security measures to protect their identity. First, change your privacy settings on other social media sites to disable users from using your email address as a search feature. This action will help hide your identity from anyone accessing the leaked database. Adult FriendFinder members should also watch for phishing scams being sent via email. Finally, if you are ever extorted with this information you must contact local authorities immediately. If you give into ransom demands, it is very unlikely you will ever recoup that money.
For more information on privacy and security, please visit FightingIdentityCrimes.com.
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