Hack of online dating site Adult FriendFinder exposes millions

Technically Incorrect: Adult FriendFinder, a site where people seek casual, discreet relationships, suffers a breach, exposing the details of almost 4 million of its members.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Your friendships might be ruined after this hack. screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's one thing when your bank account, your credit card details or your buying behavior at Target get leaked.

It's quite another when your predilection for dressing up as a housemaid while speaking Norwegian and seeking extramarital partners comes to light.

That may be the possibility for 3.9 million members of Adult FriendFinder, whose information might now be on the open Web.

This site encourages you to "Hookup, Find Sex or Meet Someone Hot Now."

The order of that promise seems a little twisted. Shouldn't you first meet someone hot, before hooking up and then perhaps having sex? But I quibble.

More seriously, the UK's Channel 4 News reports that perhaps intimate details have been exposed after a dark Web forum named ROR[RG] was shown to contain the hacked material.

According to Channel 4, this included personal details in the administrative sense, such as usernames and email addresses, as well as personal details in the carnal sense, such as sexual preference and whether a user might be seeking extramarital affairs.

I contacted Adult FriendFinder to ask just how much information was taken.

A spokesman told me that the company is launching an internal investigation, as well as working law enforcement to identify the alleged miscreants. It's also "temporarily disabling the username search function and masking usernames of any users we believe were affected by the security issue."

The spokesman also said: "At this time, there is no evidence that any financial information or passwords were compromised."

He admitted, however, that the company still doesn't know the full extent of the attack.

Some members of the site must be very concerned. Which of them might get threats of blackmail from anonymous types who are now in possession of deeply compromising information?

So many companies have been subject to data breaches that it seems no one is safe. In recent times, organizations as disparate as Target and the White House have suffered security lapses.

This one, however, of a site that has 63 million members worldwide, might prove to be the most personally damaging of all.

Updated at 1:02 p.m. PT with comment from a spokesman for Adult FriendFinder.