Although the details around the Ashley Madison hack were shocking, the fact that the site had been hacked was not.
Data breaches are commonplace in the digital world, and even businesses that boast about their security systems can be attacked by sophisticated cybercriminals.
And this includes many dating sites says Alex Holden, the founder of Hold Security, in a new piece about why dating sites are the target of so many attacks.
Holden worked with security researcher Brian Krebs – who broke the Ashley Madison story – on exposing a vulnerability in Seeking Arrangements in 2009, as well as investigating the hack of French extramarital site Gleeden.
As he rightly says, dating sites are targets firstly because its “users are primary targets for many typical types of spam, whether it is weight loss, libido boosters or pornography. They host user information to give spammers a better chance of finding their targets, as they store attributes like gender, age and body shape.
“Spammers customise campaigns based on perceived needs and demographics data helps them target specific users. Other ways to profit include romance scams, impersonations and blackmail.”
And with data breaches especially damaging PR-wise for personal services like dating sites, it is understandable why companies want to keep any breach out of the spotlight – as eHarmony did when we contacted them about their data hack last year.
Read the full post here.