A quarter of a million users of a Dutch website have had their details exposed after a hacker took advantage of a flaw. The breach on hookers.nl was discovered by the Dutch news television site, NOS following an anonymous tip.
The website is often used by both sex workers and their clients to exchange tips and experiences. However, a cyber thief has admitted he stole people’s details and is holding them ransom for $300. This causes potential safety risks to those involved who may face danger if personal information, like real names, is revealed.
Although things like passwords are encrypted, information from email addresses, is legible. IP addresses and user names were also stolen in the leak.
Due to the sensitive nature of the website, this is not the first time it has been targeted. A similar incident also happened four years ago when again, hackers used the information on the site to blackmail users.
The inflict upon victims
“Compared to some notorious breaches that have occurred in the last 12 months involving billions of compromised records, this data breach may seem comparatively insignificant. However, in terms of reputational damage it’s apt to inflict upon the victims, the impact may be unprecedentedly disastrous.” Commented Ilia Kolochenko, founder and CEO of web security company ImmuniWeb.
He added: “Unscrupulous cybercriminals will start blackmailing the victims and their families very soon. Likely, most of the campaigns will be a substandard scam, offering ”removal“ of victims’ names for a payment in Bitcoin. Of course, nothing will be ever removed, worse those victims who pay will probably be approached again and again for new ”removals”. “
A website with secrets
Tom Lobermann, a spokesperson for Midhold, who are the owners of the hookers.nl, commented on the breach saying, “It is of course not an account of your internet provider that leaked, maybe you don’t want people to know that you have an account here”,
Loberman also says, “We are not happy with this.” Hookers.nl set up a forum page for people who want their accounts quickly removed.”
The infiltrator of the attack told NOS that he has not yet had any buyers but believes that he will.