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Also exposed were email addresses, user names, dates of birth, postal codes and Internet addresses of the users' computers, according to Channel 4.
In a statement on its corporate website, the parent company Friend Finder Networks said it "has just been made aware of a potential data security issue and understands and fully appreciates the seriousness of the issue." "We have already begun working closely with law enforcement and have launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert." The data breach was first reported a month ago by security researcher Bev Robb who discovered the data on a "dark Web" site.
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"Though the files were stripped of credit card data, it is still relatively easy to connect the dots and identify thousands upon thousands of users who subscribe to this adult site." Security experts say such stolen data can be used for various email scams and potentially for blackmail.
Security researcher Graham Cluley said in a blog post Friday that the website has an obligation to inform its 63 million members worldwide.