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The attack methodology deployed in this instance was not released, but it would be fair to assume that it leveraged a kind of SQL Injection attack or similar, where the information is wormed out of the back-end database through a flaw in the webserver.Another possible mechanism could have been hijacking ssh keys from a compromised admin account or github, but those tend to be secondary in most cases.Many would argue that having an email address and the associated data might be of little value.However, much the same way metadata collection provides insight to the NSA, this type of information provides attackers with plenty of leverage that can be used against the public.In addition to launching an internal review, Friend Finder Networks has hired Mandiant, a high-profile cybersecurity company, to investigate the hack, and is working with the FBI.Meanwhile, the person who originally dumped the information on the so-called darkweb, who uses the nickname ROR[RG}, is demanding more than £10,000 for access to the database of users, and capitalising on the news by marketing his cybercrime services.The leaked information included credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, birth dates, physical addresses and personal — you know — preferences.What's often not highlighted in these cases is the monetary value of such a breach.
But why Friend Finder Networks has held onto millions of accounts belonging to customers is a mystery, given that the site was sold to Penthouse Global Media in February."We are aware of the data hack and we are waiting on Friend Finder to give us a detailed account of the scope of the breach and their remedial actions in regard to our data," said Kelly Holland, the site's chief executive, in an email on Saturday.But the company said in a statement that it had “received a number of reports regarding potential security vulnerabilities from a variety of sources” and that it is investigating."Immediately upon learning this information, we took several steps to review the situation and bring in the right external partners to support our investigation," the statement said.When reached, Friend Finder Networks confirmed the site vulnerability, but would not outright confirm the breach."Over the past several weeks, Friend Finder has received a number of reports regarding potential security vulnerabilities from a variety of sources.Immediately upon learning this information, we took several steps to review the situation and bring in the right external partners to support our investigation," said Diana Ballou, vice president and senior counsel, in an email on Friday."While a number of these claims proved to be false extortion attempts, we did identify and fix a vulnerability that was related to the ability to access source code through an injection vulnerability," she said."Friend Finder takes the security of its customer information seriously and will provide further updates as our investigation continues," she added.The online dating company would not comment on the read receipt, but said its “leadership” only became aware of the breach on 20 May when contacted by Channel 4 News.“Friend Finder employees receive hundreds of sales and marketing spam messages daily, including many from third party cyber security consultants, and any earlier communication on this specific issue was directed to junk mail folders and not considered a legitimate email,” the company said in a statement.The new owners of said they are aware of the alleged breach."[W]e are waiting on Friend Finder to give us a detailed account of the scope of the breach and their remedial actions in regard to our data," Penthouse Global Media chief executive Kelly Holland said in an emailed statement.The company said the warning ended up in its spam folder, despite an email from an employee indicating that it had been read.On 21 May Channel 4 News revealed that hackers had posted the deeply personal sexual information of around 3.9m users of Adult Friend Finder, which is one of the world’s largest dating websites.