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The attack methodology deployed in this instance was not released, but it would be fair to assume that it leveraged a kind of SQL Injection attack or similar, where the information is wormed out of the back-end database through a flaw in the webserver.
Another possible mechanism could have been hijacking ssh keys from a compromised admin account or github, but those tend to be secondary in most cases.
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“Friend Finder employees receive hundreds of sales and marketing spam messages daily, including many from third party cyber security consultants, and any earlier communication on this specific issue was directed to junk mail folders and not considered a legitimate email,” the company said in a statement.
In addition to launching an internal review, Friend Finder Networks has hired Mandiant, a high-profile cybersecurity company, to investigate the hack, and is working with the FBI.
The leaked information included credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, birth dates, physical addresses and personal — you know — preferences.
Its flagship online dating services include Friend Finder and its various spin-off services (such as Adult Friend Finder, and other dating services targeting various territories and niche categories, such as the South America-focused Amigos.com, and Christian dating website Big Church), as well as niche websites for alternative lifestyles, and adult webcam websites.
Friend Finder Networks (formerly Various, Inc.) is an American internet company founded in 1996 by Andrew Conru.
Its corporate headquarters are located in Boca Raton, Florida, with additional offices in California, New York, and Taiwan.
Spear phishing becomes a lot easier when attackers not only have an email address, but also location, language, and race.
The source IP addresses collected can even provide pinpoint street locations for attacks.
2) At the webserver level, where an abnormal amount of traffic would be sent to a specific address.