Explicit Content Sent to Guardian Dating Website Users Following Data Breach

Media Division | May 8, 2017

Dating websites and services are being used more frequently than ever.  The advent of the internet and these sites has made dating much more convenient for a multitude of people.  It allows individuals to enter their preferences and be able to locate others who share similar interests and beliefs and has even helped many to locate their soulmate.  Unfortunately, as with any online service or site, these sites can also potentially be targeted by cyber attackers for several different purposes.  We had previously posted an article in regard to online scams stealing money through dating websites by posing as individuals needing money.  But, in a more recent attack, The Guardian’s dating service was recently affected by a data breach which led to explicit pictures being sent to users via email.

Origin of the Breach

The service affected is called Guardian Soulmates, and the data breach had originated due to human error within a third party vendor.  It had resulted in the leaking of the personal data of a number of users of the site, including email addresses and user ID’s. This data would allow the attacker to find the full profiles of users, which would then provide them even more information.  The attackers had then sent emails to the users containing illicit content, which were also said to contain information that would have only come from the dating website.  Around 27 users had reported this occurrence to the Guardian, but the amount affected may have been more extensive than this.  The Guardian has apologized to those affected, as well as stated that they are looking into their use of third party suppliers.  There has been no data provided as far as the identity of the third party that was breached, or how the attacker was able to initially gain access.

It is fortunate that no financial data was purloined in this attack.  The actions of the hackers may have been much more extensive had they been able to obtain this type of information.  Emails and user ID’s do not allow them to do too much, aside from using it to mess with the users to some extent, but that is much better than fraud.  As mentioned above, a hacker’s intent could be to simply cause chaos or instigate people in certain cases, which is what appears to have happened here.

The Importance of Extensive Security to Prevent Cyber Attacks

In our digital age, cyber security is a more critical necessity than ever.  Many still think that formidable cyber security simply means a firewall and antivirus, but modern threats have required it to evolve much further than that. Comprehensive security now means coverage over a wide range of systems and networks, including ensuring the security of third party vendors and providers.  It also includes the ability to monitor the status of these different systems, and proactively prevent cyber attacks from compromising them.  And even the above statements are a very brief summation that does not give the full scope, but anything less than the above is simply unacceptable.  There are extremely large amounts of valuable information and data that now reside in the digital world, and organizations must ensure that it is fortified against attackers, for their sake and that of their customers and clients.  Massive Alliance’s wide range of cyber security services can allow an organization to prevent cyber attacks from damaging their systems and data.

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