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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: February 2, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Online Dating Site Topface Pays Hacker to Prevent Selling of 20 Million User Addresses
5 years
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The Russian online-dating service "Topface" said it paid a hacker an undisclosed sum, preventing the person from selling or leaking 20 million user addresses, Bloomberg reported:

The St. Petersburg-based site was able to track down the hacker who advertised an offer to sell the e-mail addresses, founder and Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Filatov said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. Since the hacker didn’t pass the data to anyone and agreed not to do so, Topface won’t take legal action against him. Topface called the payment “an award for finding a vulnerability."

The theft raises concerns about data security in Russia, where two biggest Internet companies, Yandex NV and Mail.ru Group Ltd, reported leaks of millions of accounts last year.

Topface, which found a loophole through which the hacker accessed e-mail addresses of its users, said it agreed with the hacker on “further cooperation in the field of data security.

A tech website called Naked Security had a little more pointed analysis of the incident:

Topface is not calling this payment "ransom." Topface is, rather, calling it "an award for finding a vulnerability".

There are no details available on what vulnerability the attacker exploited to exfiltrate the user data, but the company seems to have struck up some sort of working relationship with him.

Topface agreed to "[cooperate] in the field of data security", according to an email exchange between Filatov and Bloomberg.

...meaning that we should stop calling him an attacker, hacker, or intruder, and instead now refer to him as, perhaps, a "consultant"?

Um... OK.

Filatov said that his company's new "security consultant" (I believe that phrase requires air quotes when read aloud) didn't access anything beyond the email addresses.

Russia is among the top countries from which hacks of computers emanate. Go to Norse, a security company's map that tracks all the reported hacking of computer systems around the world in real time.

Today, as on many days, Russia is in the top three, striking at the US or Europe as the US and China fight each other:

Norse-2-2-2015.jpg