Articles Posted in hacking

The  parent company of the adultery dating site Ashley Madison will pay $1.6 million in settlements to the U.S. resulting from a Federal Trade Commission probe into a massive breach of the company’s computer systems and the outing of millions of its members. Hackers penetrated  company’s systems and then posted the information onlineafter the company didn’t comply with their demands to shut down Ashley Madison. New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday that reckless disregard for data security will not be tolerated. The investigation yielded poor data security practices and  the company made several alleged misrepresentations, including a “Trusted Security Award” that appears to have been fabricated.

The FTC also found Ashley Madison created fake female profiles to attract male users. It used portions of the profile photographs of actual users who had not had account activity within the previous year as the photographs in the fake profiles that it created. The website had a saying: “Life is short. Have an affair” — is marketed to people looking for extramarital relationships. It once purported to have about 39 million members.

Husbands and wives  extramarital affairs were posted on the web after the massive leak. Extortion crimes and  unconfirmed reports of suicides resulted. The New York attorney general’s office said the settlement with the company is for $17.5 million but said remainder of the $17.5 million payment is suspended based on ruby Corp.’s inability to pay.

A web site which processes tax forms for nonprofit groups for the Internal Revenue Service(IRS) had a major data breach, it has been announced. Operated by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, or NCCS. The group announced  it had recently discovered that an unauthorized party or parties gained access to the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard filing systems for nonprofit organizations.

Security Alert posted on its site says, “… all users of the e-Postcard system were notified that unauthorized parties gained access to the system and to usernames and passwords. If you registered on the site prior to January 7, 2015 you will be required to change your password if you have not already done so. Please go here for details, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and more information.”

Stuart Kantor, a spokesman for the Urban Institute, emailed Accounting Today on Monday, and wrote,  “TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) opened a criminal investigation into this attack. Urban was considered a victim of a crime. We are not privy to the TIGTA investigation, so we do not know its status. The incident did not result in any material downtime or interruption of use of the e-Postcard or Form 990 Online systems.”