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That’s more than I make for an article, so paying him (he wanted bitcoins by the way) was out of the question.I briefly considered barging in, grabbing what I needed and taking off without leaving any trace, but, let’s face it, he wanted money for it, so I would be committing theft. Turning to the concept first proposed in the movie , where people were detained by acts called “Pre-Crime”, I contacted a friend of mine who had sucked up a copy of the database before ROR[RG] had a chance to lock it down and begin asking for cash.I am personally aware of seven previous hacks and there are rumors of dozens, if not hundreds of prior hacks. The hacks that reach public awareness are extremely rare.For a hack to reach public awareness someone has to make a serious mistake, or they are demanding money or some other asset or, in the case of ROR[RG], they have an ax to grind.It may sound devious or somehow over the line, but would you buy a lock from a lock manufacturer that professed to know nothing about how a lock is picked? Anyway, with my limited talents I could easily have walked into the Friend Finder database and collected the same thing that ROR[RG] collected and, using it for analysis, written my story. Instead I went to ROR[RG]’s area where he had placed the data.As usual, being a day late and a dollar short, by the time I knocked on the door he was selling incomplete segments of the database for non-exclusive use for ,000.The 14 largest Megachurches in the world range from the Lakewood Church in Houston Texas (45,000 Members) to the Yoido Church in Seoul Korea (253,000 Members). It is comforting to note that the pastors of only two of these churches were members of Adult Friend Finder, (the online dating service and swinger personals community website for Friend Finder, Inc.), and both were searching for anonymous gay hookups. Of the fortune 500 corporations, fewer than 1,420 executives (directors, VPs and above) were members of Adult Friend Finder.Of the 535 members of congress, only 16 Congressmen and two Senators were members of this adult website. Another 230,000 or so rank and file employees of fortune 500 companies were also members – following in the footsteps of their admired superiors no doubt. Of the 2,400,000 odd employees of the Federal Government, we find a measly 120,000 or so who were members. When I tell you, however, that over 90 percent of all these members accessed the website, perused photographs (mostly naked or semi-naked), sent texts and emails and shared fascinating sexual fantasies with uncountable numbers of people while on the job and while using government or corporate computers, you might raise an eyebrow or two.
Friend Finder Networks (formerly Various, Inc.) is an American internet company founded in 1996 by Andrew Conru.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.Either way, the database dump itself is 570 megabytes, and assuming the data was exfiltrated in a few large transactions, it would have been very noticeable on a network level.In this case, the administrator would have had two opportunities to notice the abnormality: 1) At the database level, as the data was extracted.2) At the webserver level, where an abnormal amount of traffic would be sent to a specific address.It’s not that Friend Finder has substandard security, it’s simply that very little, to a determined and talented hacker, is immune to access.I am not a top notch hacker, but I did spend most of my life attempting to stop hackers from accessing or damaging data. As part of my job, I had to know how hackers did their jobs and became moderately good at it.ROR[RG] insisted that Adult Friend Finder (the company) owed a friend of his nearly a quarter of a million dollars.He wanted his friend to get paid, so he went public.Part of me kept nagging that Google does the same thing with nearly everyone on earth a billion times a day – stealing our personal data — but such reasoning is the first act of making a criminal. I can only assume that this would be classified as pre-theft and, according to Federal and State statutes, pre-theft was not yet a crime.I simply asked my good friend – Andrew Aurnheimer – @rabite on Twitter (he demanded I include his name and handle).