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Sex workers' clients exposed by Dutch hack attack

BBC Technology 11 Oct 2019 11:19
Amsterdam red light districtImage copyright Getty Images

Account details of more than 250,000 people who used a site for sex workers in the Netherlands have been stolen in a hack attack.

Email addresses, user names and encrypted passwords were stolen from a site called Hookers.nl.

The attacker is believed to have exploited a bug in its chat room software found last month.

Reports suggest the malicious hacker who took the data has offered it for sale on a dark web marketplace.

Potential blackmail

Hookers.nl was "not happy" about the attack, its media spokesman Tom Lobermann told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Mr Lobermann said sex workers who used the site and the clients who visited them could be put at risk if their data were to be stolen and sold. He said the site had informed everyone who had an account about the breach.

The message sent by the site's administrators also advised people to change their passwords.

Mr Schellevis contacted the suspected thief who said he felt no guilt over the attack.

The hacker added that several people were interested in buying the data.

VBulletin quickly produced a patch for the bug but several sites were breached before they could deploy and install the protection.

He added: "Other opportunist criminals seeing the news may also use it to attempt to phish any possible users by posing as the original attacker to blackmail anyone who falls for their scam."

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Tom Lobermannthe NetherlandsJoost SchellevisNOSMr Schellevis