The founder and CEO of dating site Plenty of Fish reports that the site has been hacked and users’ names, email addresses, and passwords may have been acquired. Whether PayPal account information and other personal details were also acquired is uncertain and depends on whose version of the hack you read. It’s also uncertain whether other large dating sites have also been hacked. The only thing that seems certain right now is that this is already turning out to be a somewhat bizarre story.
In a blog post that is quite different than the usual breach disclosure, Markus Frind writes on his personal blog about the incident and the extortion attempt that allegedly accompanied it. He even names names. The blog post reads something like a thriller, although I cannot imagine anyone suspecting Brian Krebs of anything other than simply being a reporter who’s attempting to verify a story that came to him.
One of those Frind names, Chris Russo, provides a different version of what happened and his role. In a statement posted on Grumo Media, Russo writes:
Hi, I’m a security researcher from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Last Friday 21 of Januray, we discovered a vulnerability in www.plentyoffish.com exposing users details, including usernames, addresses, phone numbers, real names, email addresses, passwords in plain text, and in most of cases, paypal accounts, of more than 28,000,000 (twenty eight million users). This vulnerability was under active explotation by hackers.
So far, it seems reasonable, but the statement gets downright weird when Russo talks about how POF was going to hire him:
While we were creating the legal documents in order to proceed, Markus Frind got progressively more aggressive and unresposive with us, and told us to speak with their employees, Kate and Jay, because there was a serial killer, murdering people from the website.
The story also involves a mysterious request for POF user data, posted yesterday on Freelancer.com by “akshay3471,” whose profile lists him as being in Moradabad, India.
Update 1: Brian Krebs tells his side of the story – the only side I actually can believe without reservation.
I’ll let you all follow the links and read for yourselves. I expect we’ll see a lot more coverage on this one. In the meantime, best to err on the side of caution and assume that the site was compromised and that any information you provided may have been acquired.