Feeds

Dating site and hacker in online spat over security breach

No love lost

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The founder of Canadian dating website PlentyOfFish.com has become embroiled in an online spat with a white-hat hacker who found security bugs on the site and a reporter who began asking questions about the flaw.

Markus Frind, the founder and chief executive of Plenty of Fish, claims he was approached by someone who exported 345 users accounts from pof.com's database before trying to convince the site to hire his crew as a security team. If PlentyofFish.com didn't play ball, then the hacker threatened to go to the press, according to Frind, who said he interpreted the action as attempted extortion.

However, the Argentinian hacker who approached the site, Chris Russo, said he was only trying to warn PlentyofFish.com of a security vulnerability he had found. Russo created a proof of concept demo of the vulnerability, which he shared with former Washington Post staffer Brian Krebs, who runs the Krebs on Security blog, around a fortnight ago.

Krebs set up a free account on the site, details of which Russo was able to recite back to him thanks to a flaw that meant you could view account and login credentials on any of the 30 million registered members of the site. Convinced there was a potential problem, Krebs approached PlentyofFish.com for comment.

Frind reportedly stalled Krebs' questions for several days before posting a rambling blog post accusing Russo of spinning bizarre yarns about unearthing threats by the Russian mafia to blackmail PlentyofFish and other dating sites and supposedly claiming his life was in danger, all to support the attempted hacking and extortion of PlentyofFish.com. The same post indirectly accuses Krebs of participating in the extortion scam, before backtracking on that clearly unfounded claim.

PlentyOfFish.com admits there was a security hole on the site but said it was minor and had been resolved by a recently applied (precautionary) password reset. Krebs reckons the site got into problems because it stored user login credentials in plain text, a point PlentyofFish disputes.

The two conflicting versions of events can be found in a heavily commented upon blog post by Frind here and a rival retelling of events by Krebs here. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.