eHarmony security compromised

For those of you feeling safe and secure in your own little world, convinced that no one would bother hacking a dating site after going after one of the largest business-related social networking sites, think again: eHarmony has announced they’ve fallen victim to the same hacker or hackers that compromised the security of LinkedIn and posted th results on a Russian internet forum.

It was confirmed earlier this week that there was a breach of the online dating site. A ‘small fraction’ of the dating site’s users has been affected, according to eHarmony corporate communications representative, Becky Teraoka, but the number of users that might have been put at risk was not specified – though the website did confirm it had reset the passwords of anyone whose security had been breached.

Truth be told, the hackers didn’t break in and abscond with a bundle of raw passwords but a number of ‘hashes,’ which are versions of the passwords that have been encrypted with a computer algorithm. ¬†However, the passwords can be uncovered with decoding software available to anyone for free, with the only thing standing in between a Russian hacker reading your online dating profile the relative length of your password, as longer ones take more time to crack.

Around 1.5 million of these password hashes were compromised, as they were posted on InsidePro, a password-cracking website hosted in Russia.  The same website is also allegedly responsible for the LinkedIn security breach where anywhere between 5.8 million and 6.5 million hashes were purloined and posted, though business networking site has also announced it was changing passwords and informing its members.

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