NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More than 3.5 million people’s sexual preferences, fetishes and secrets have been exposed after dating site Adult FriendFinder was hacked.
Adult FriendFinder asks customers to detail their 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.”
The information Adult FriendFinder collects is extremely personal in nature. When signing up for an account, customers must enter their gender, which gender they’re interested in hooking up with and what kind of sexual situations they desire. Suggestions AdultFriendfinder provides for the “tell others about yourself” field include, “I like my partners to tell me what to do in the bedroom,” “I tend to be kinky” and “I’m willing to try some light bondage or blindfolds.”
The hack, which took place in March, was first uncovered by independent IT security consultant. Bev Robb on her blog Teksecurity a month ago. But Robb did not name the site that was hacked. it wasn’t until this week, when England’s Channel 4 News reported on the hack, that Adult FriendFinder was named as the victim.
Included in the exposed personal information are customers’ email addresses, usernames, passwords, birthdays and zip codes, in addition to their sexual preferences. No credit card data has yet been uncovered as part of the hack.
That data is incredibly revealing and potentially damaging, particularly if a hacker is looking to extort an Adult FriendFinder customer online.
For instance, Robb reported that one person whose information was hacked was a 62-year-old Hispanic male from North Brunswick, New Jersey, who worked in advertising and has a preference for the “subporno” forum. That, combined with his username and other account details, gave Robb enough information to Google him, find his real name, and find his social media pages.
The information exposed can be particularly devastating to people living in small towns, where they are more easily identified. For example, one person exposed in the hack is a 40-year old welder from a small Illinois town of just over 4,000 people. He “will become anybody’s slave” and lied about his age on the site, claiming to be 29.
According to Robb, the breach was carried out by a hacker who goes by the moniker ROR[RG]. He reportedly blackmailed Adult FriendFinder, saying he would expose the data online unless the company paid him $100,000.
FriendFinder Networks Inc., parent company of Adult FriendFinder and other adult sites and publications including Penthouse, said in a statement that it had just become aware of the breach, and it is working closely with law enforcement and cyberforensics company Mandiant, a FireEye subsidiary.
The company said it doesn’t yet know the full scope of the breach, but it promised to “work vigilantly,” noting that FriendFinder Networks “fully appreciates the seriousness of the issue.”
“We cannot speculate further about this issue, but rest assured, we pledge to take the appropriate steps needed to protect our customers if they are affected,” the company said.
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