Some 64 million members of an online dating site have reason to be a little more cautious today after news broke that Adult Friend Finder had suffered a data breach.
The scope of the breach isn’t yet known, but the company is already alerting users to the fact that names, addresses, email addresses, sexual orientations, marital statuses, and other sensitive information may have been accessed.
The dating site, which bills itself as a website where members can find other interested parties for casual sex or other spontaneous meetups, is part of a much larger parent company called Friend Finder Networks, which has more than 600 million members across its 40,000 websites.
There are always questions when a data breach occurs, and one of the major ones for consumers is, “What will a thief do with my information?
Ashley Madison is a perfect example of that and many people were shocked at just how many identities were contained in the data, identities that then caused a great deal of grief for their owners.
I want to talk about practical, everyday things that people who aren't deeply technical can do to better protect themselves.
The easiest personal identifier that will match you to a site is your email address.
That's entirely beside the point though which is that a bunch of consenting adults now have their identities in the hands of an untold number of people who are willingly sharing the data around web. I've had this post in mind for some time as I've seen more and more deeply personal data spread across the web.The measures you take to hide your identity from, say, a significant other or general member of the community may not be sufficient to hide from government oversight.Of course the latter will usually also protect you from the former, but it also often comes with an additional burden to implement.If you're a budding Edward Snowden then you'll need to go much, much further.Let's jump into it, and we'll start somewhere simple.Email addresses can be used for phishing attempts, but can also be sold to online marketers for spam.Physical addresses can lead to mail fraud and “dumpster diving,” which can then easily turn into other potential forms of identity theft, scams, or fraud.I'm going to focus on what's readily accessible to the bulk of the population.If you don't want your participation in certain sites going public, then this will be useful.” If credit card information or Social Security numbers are stolen in a breach, then there’s a good chance there could be financial repercussions.But if those pieces of the puzzle are missing, there are still plenty of ways the data can be useful to a thief.