Plenty of Fish, another dating site, has been targeted by hackers. People who visited Plenty of Fish in the last few days are likely to have had malicious spying software installed on their computers, which would have then tracked all of their keystrokes. So the hackers can see everything a person is typing – including when they log in to their online banking. Security Specialist, Mark James from IT Security Firm ESET, gives insight into what happened, the hacker’s motivations, as well as advice for users and the affected company.
Any more insight into what happened?
“Malvertising has been around for a while now and often is quite successful in its attack campaign because of the lack of interaction needed by the individual infected. It’s not reliant on unpatched servers or vulnerabilities nor the reputation of the affected site. It could be a high profile or an under the radar website and has the ability to spread through thousands of users before being found and stopped.”
Why are dating site getting so much attention from hackers all of a sudden?
“After the massive media attention that Ashley Madison has attracted, it stands to reason that similar infiltrations will also attract the same sort of short term awareness. Along with the actual information retrieved from the site, there comes a level of public interest in similar attacks. It’s like buying a certain make of car and then always seeing that car as you drive around, there’s probably no increase in these particular industry specific targets only our awareness of current projects.”
Is the motivation purely monetary?
“Most malware these days is monetary motivated. Having said that, there still is a degree of notoriety associated with high profile hacks and breaches. With so much sensitive information stored on servers in the “cloud” and so many opportunities to steal and use that data for today’s modern take on criminal activities from extortion (Ransomware) to robbery (Identity Theft) it’s not going away anytime soon.”
How can users check if they have been affected? What should users do?
“Run Anti-Virus or security scans of your devices to check for any malware currently active on them. You could install and use an ad-blocking program to stop the adverts from being displayed in the first place BUT remember many websites use adverts to fund their hard work so you could be stopping these legit businesses from making money and thus providing you with a free website. Ensure your operating systems and applications are all updated and patched and make sure you check your financial accounts regularly. Look out for any transactions you’re not sure of, however small they may seem and if possible change any financial banking login passwords immediately. Changing a password takes minutes, having to deal with recovering money from a hacked account can take months to get it all resolved and sorted, it’s a no brainer!”
What should Plenty of Fish do?
“They need to ensure they are using a good ad server to manage their online advertising, vet the company and the provider to ensure it has a good reputation. While also keeping the public informed of exactly what has and what is happening will help and offer some kind of credit monitoring service to anyone directly affected by the compromise. They should check their entire systems for any type of breach and continue to monitor it on a regular basis.”