Erm, why?

As well as the damage to jobs and relationships that could be caused by the hack, there is a potential for individuals to be targeted by blackmailers or other criminals.

If the information’s already out there then who can be blackmailed about it?

20 thoughts on “Erm, why?”

  1. Couldn’t you say the same thing about scandium middleman-ing? Not everyone will go looking through a giant database on the off-chance that their partner is on it.

  2. Surreptitious Evil

    Not everybody who might want to know knows how to grab a torrent or a file from .onion. Or can open up the large files to scan them.

    There is possibly a short and seedy business opportunity in there for somebody with S or R skills.

  3. SE: That and not all information linking problems are symmetric. It’d be easier to start with the CC number than to start with the suspected cheater.

  4. Guido’s already outed an MP on the list (SNP business spokesman):
    https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/459363419133460481/-TkqaDOY.jpeg
    (yes, I might, after a few subsidised drinks)

    She claims hacked e-mail of course.

    But there’s apparently hundreds with parliament or government e-mails – I’m amazed that people would use their work e-mail for something like that.

    But I suppose if you would sign up for a website like that, you have different attitudes or risk profile.

  5. I’m amazed that people would use their work e-mail for something like that.

    I ran the digital investigations team for a large international organisation, a few years ago. I’m not amazed by any (ab)use of a work email system.

  6. It’d be easier to start with the CC number than to start with the suspected cheater.

    Except you don’t have full CC numbers as AM passed this directly on to a credit card processor. Apparently, from people who have found their own accounts, the last four are accurate (although there are no records for people who paid by Paypal.)

    So that makes it a somewhat harder matching problem. But, worth a try if that’s your sort of gig.

  7. There’s a logic to using work email, which is that your partner is less likely to see it. Might be better to make a disposable single purpose account, in theory, but don’t a lot of employers block webmail sites at work to stop internal documents getting emailed out? (This assumes the worker wants to use work computers – sensible enough to avoid bringing it home, but am sure a disposable email address accessed on webmail on your mobile internet is a safer bet in terms of prying eyes and privacy from admins.)

  8. Incidentally I’m surprised at sensitive positions, employees aren’t blanket banned from such sites full stop (home, work, wherever) due to blackmail risk.

    If I worked in intelligence or just as a nasty blackmailer I’d set up my own specialist “dark” personals service – maybe several in different niches. Affairs. The more depraved side of BDSM. Maybe specialise in the “Lolita” end of the sugar daddy market. Stuff people, particularly the rich and powerful and connected, dream of but may not have the right contacts in their social network to achieve. Run a fully functional site, spy on the punters like hawks (particularly ones who seem “high value”), see who you reel in.

    I stumbled across a very senior, and very married, civil servant on a personals site years ago. Made me think, if I’d owned the site, could read the correspondence, see the pictures sent, could easily fake a honeytrap account, there’s a lot of mischief that could be done. And on an industrial scale.

  9. Richard: “yes, I might, after a few subsidised drinks”

    The previous thread made me think nobody on this blog liked dogs. Glad to see I was wrong.

  10. bloke (not) in spain

    This is so good it’s gone straight through funny & out the other side. I should think the silence at breakfast tables is so profound you could measure it from orbit.

  11. Incidentally I’m surprised at sensitive positions, employees aren’t blanket banned from such sites full stop (home, work, wherever) due to blackmail risk.

    I think that would fall foul of the right to privacy laws.

  12. It makes me wonder which wives are going to be trawling through this data and which are not. I bet you any money most of the ones who do will be from Anglo Saxon cultures or the UK. Do you think the wife of a well-connected Frenchman, Italian, or Argentinian is going to be go rooting around trying to see if her husband is having an affair? Normally they assume he is and STFU.

  13. I just tell my wife about my affairs when they’re in the planning stage. It makes it much easier. Sometimes she sets me up with them.

  14. Tim N

    I think that would fall foul of the right to privacy laws.

    Clearly enforcement would. Not sure about the principle, though. And companies do make certain obligations on employees’ private lives – for example, it may be compulsory to register an office love affair with your employer if differing divisions mean you fall either side of a “Chinese wall”.

  15. Bloke not in Cymru

    Given the lack of verification of names and email addresses in the data the only real useful information would be the last 4 digits of the credit card assuming the name/email matched with them.

  16. bloke (not) in spain

    “It makes me wonder which wives are going to be trawling through this data and which are not.”
    It’s strange you should see it that way, TimN. Remember; for every unfaithful man there should be an unfaithful woman*.
    And, as you say, women have a built in suspicion of unfaithfulness. They’ve already got candidates, if it’s only women he once passed on the same pavement.. It’s the husbands trawling uncertainly, as all their complacency turns to insecurity, I’m thinking on.

    *Not saying I reckon AM’s bint book is all wandering wives. I’d reckon the oldest profession’s moved in there in force. Why wouldn’t they? They’re on every other dating site.

  17. Incidentally I’m surprised at sensitive positions, employees aren’t blanket banned from such sites full stop (home, work, wherever) due to blackmail risk.

    Hmm. Things have got a lot looser on the sex side since being outed as a gayer stopped being a sacking offence.

    You would be supposed to tell the DV man – they ask you about your porn surfing habits, for example, so even being a member would be seen as pertinent information. I suspect that that will be the way they get them if they want to or are forced to make examples. Telling fibs to the DV people is extremely frowned upon.

    And my new one has had a sense of humour bypass, which makes the whole thing rather more a) irritating and b) stressful.

  18. SE,

    That’s interesting. Thanks.

    The blackmail risk I was wondering about wasn’t so much organisational blackmail (“we’ll tell the police/your employer”) but social and personal. Compromising pictures or messages wending their way to the newspaper (if you’re famous) or partner (if you’re a nobody). That’s still enough to exert pressure, though perhaps not a pressure so great that folk would comply with the blackmail to avoid the consequences, rather than accept the risk of shame and fall on their sword.

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