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If you haven’t heard, Adult FriendFinder was hacked recently. Don’t worry: We’re just as surprised — AFF confirmed on Thursday with Channel 4 in the U.K. that they were breached back in March.
While credit card information wasn’t obtained, other data was, such as the sexual preferences and desires of more than 3.5 million users.
The hack is another reminder of the perils we face in the digital age. You might not have an account on AFF, but news of its hacking is still a big deal. As online dating continues to increase in popularity, more people are submitting their personal information to sites during the search for a healthy relationship.
We’re sure you have questions, and our online dating experts, Julie Spira and Gina Stewart, are here to help.
“This has big implications for the online dating industry, which will see a big drop-off in users if users feel as though their private personal information is not Fort Knox-secure,” Stewart said. “This is a sobering reminder that our digital footprint is out there. It only takes some maliciously-minded individuals to use what we put out there against us.”
Spira said the hacking of one site shouldn’t be a knock against the entire industry, though.
“Situations like these are very rare and are not a fault of the sites which were hacked,” she said.
“To stay safe, consider only putting information about yourself that you could handle being exposed,” Stewart said. “This includes pictures and what you write about yourself. Create and use email accounts dedicated to your online dating and are not the same as your personal email. Not that this will foil a hacker who has access to your financial information, but at least it’s not a direct link to your other accounts/social media.”
“When using any online site and providing private information and credit card details, make sure the site you’re accessing is a secured site, which means their website will start with ‘https,'” Spira said.
Spira gave us a list of steps to take if you’re ever involved in a security breach.
“Know that dating sites and all e-commerce sites take security very seriously,” she continued. “If you think you’ve been compromised, contact the site directly with your concerns and delete your profile until you feel confident that measures have been taken to secure the site.”
Between this and reports that Android phones don’t delete data, it’s a good idea to give your personal information a once-over to make sure you’ll be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Photo sources: cointelegraph.com, scoopnest.com, bt.com