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UPDATE: Private messages on LGBTQ dating app leaked by hackers

Private messages between users on the Israeli LGBTQ dating app Atraf have been leaked online, as the company failed to meet ransom demands.

user iconReporter
Thu, 04 Nov 2021
UPDATE: Private messages on LGBTQ dating app leaked by hackers
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Cyber criminal organisation Black Shadow began leaking private messages between users of LGBTQ dating website and app Atraf this week, following failure by the platform's owners to meet ransom demands.

Black Shadow is thought by cyber security experts to be an Iranian linked hacking group, which compromised the web-hosting firm CyberServe’s servers allowing it to penetrate into several additional organisations.

It is thought that up until this point that the private information of up to one million users has been leaked online, but it has now been reported by several media outlets that some of the leaked files in fact include private messages between users. In addition to direct messaging, the platform also allows users to purchase tickets for events.

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The hack caused concern among many in Israel's LGBTQ community who had accessed the website and bought tickets, especially those who used the platform discreetly.

In addition to the leaked personal information from Atraf, the same hacking group this week has been accused of leaking patient details from a hospital.

The hackers claimed that the leak was in response to the company failing a demand on the weekend of $1 million ransom to protect the information.

“48 hours ended! Nobody send us money,” Black Shadow allegedly posted via Telegram.

“This is not the end, we have more plan.”

Following the initial leak, the Israeli Justice Ministry has confirmed that Google has prevented the hackers’ websites from being accessed from the search engine, making the information harder to find.

“The Google search engine blocked access to the sites of the group Black Shadow,” an Israeli Justice Ministry spokesperson said.

Speaking to the AFP, The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel board member Hilda Peer confirmed that many users fear for their safety following the leak.

Analysts believe that the leak was the most recent event in a long line of regional hacks thought to be conducted by warring Iranian and Israeli cyber groups.

Last week, Iranian state media confirmed that an alleged cyber attack shut down the nation’s civilian petrol stations.

Media outlet Jerusalem Post quoted state broadcaster IRIB noting that, “the disruption at the refueling [sic] system of gas stations ... in the past few hours, was caused by a cyber attack ... Technical experts are fixing the problem and soon the refueling [sic] process ... will return to normal.”

However, not all state media commentators agreed on the source. IRIB commentators were further quoted suggesting that the shutdown was as a result of a software glitch.

Reports have indicated that those suffering attacks are government-issued petrol card holders.

During the attack, petrol bowsers displayed the slogan “cyber attack 64411”, a reference to the Iranian government’s phone number that answers queries regarding Islamic Law.

[Related: Concerns mount as hacking group leaks details from Israeli LGBTQ dating website]

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