According to multiple news sources, hackers managed to steal personal details and login credentials of approximately 32 million users including names, contact information, addresses, passwords and more.
The perpetrators agreed not to do anything with data under one condition: That Ashley Madison and its sister site Established Men – which links younger women with older men who have money – were to be shut down completely.
Regardless of the scheme, eligible bachelors and bachelorettes – or those who are just looking to have a good time – have a new cyber threat vector to watch out for: Online dating sites and "hookup" apps.
Hackers encourage their victims to carry out explicit sex acts, which they record.
It is then that the attacker ends their facade as an attractive woman and moves on to blackmail, saying they'll share the video or images publicly, and to friends, family, and work colleagues if the victim does not hand over money.
When Up Guard used its Website Risk Grader on some of “the world’s top dating sites,” they were met with some disappointing and rather alarming results.
Websites can earn a maximum score of 950 based on “publicly accessible security factors, such as whether SSL is enabled, whether cookies are secure, how easily someone could falsify communication as the company and a number of other factors.” The lower the score, the higher the potential for security breaches.
"We've seen a dramatic increase in the attacks on online dating sites and data breaches in general over the last three years," said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer for Threat Metrix, a cybersecurity firm that helps authenticate website users.
More cyber criminals are turning to online dating websites to take advantage of individuals searching for that special someone. One in 10 Americans have used an online dating site or application, according to Pew Research.The dating app has been gaining buzz for its purported widespread use by athletes at the Olympic games in Sochi.(: Tinder popular at the Olympics) Tinder and cyber security officials had been working on shoring up the potential vulnerability for months, but the issue only became public this week with the blog post.Online dating hackers are becoming much more sophisticated in the way they target and steal money victims' cash.Cybercriminals are now asking their "dates" to install a custom-made smartphone app that installs malware and allows them to extract details for blackmail purposes, Global Dating Insights reports.The hackers work on dating and social sites, often where people are more vulnerable.