Thousands of British users of dating website Plenty of Fish warned their bank accounts are at risk


pof_logo1Hundreds of thousands of Britons who use the dating website Plenty of Fish are at risk of having their bank accounts raided by hackers, security experts have warned.

People who have visited the website in the last few days are allegedly likely to have had malicious spying software secretly installed on their computers, which can track every keystroke whenever they access their bank accounts.

The spying ‘malware’ is smuggled into people’s computers by seemingly ordinary adverts, regardless of whether the user has clicked on that advert or not.

People that visited Plenty of Fish within the last [few] days were presented with a malicious advert on the site which sits quietly loading malware code onto their computer.

How 12% of its 100 million members are in UK

Plenty of Fish claims to have more than 100million members worldwide, and independent researchers claim that around 12 per cent of those are in Britain.

A relatively small proportion – 3million users – access the site on a daily basis, suggesting that around 360,000 Britons put their financial information at risk every day that the malware is active.

pofbigThe dating website was founded in Canada in 2003 by computer programmer Markus Frind, as a way of helping him learn a new programming language.

Last month, Mr Frind – now 36 – sold it for £367million to The Match Group, which already owns dating websites such as OK Cupid and Tinder.

‘The malware will most likely be very quiet, so that’s why they have to be proactive. Typically, it will sit on your computer and wait for the user to log onto a banking site. The malware will lay low until you perform something of interest.

‘Most people are not going to be aware that anything has happened. It is designed to steal people’s user names and passwords when you log-in to a banking site.’

The Mail has contacted Plenty of Fish to see whether it was aware of the security breach and had done anything to tackle it, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

According to Mr Segura, the Tinba virus will specifically target financial information, allowing hackers to raid Plenty of Fish members’ bank accounts. ‘The risks are very real,’ he said.

‘Any time they [the user] enter their credit card information into the browser [it will activate]. Once the credit card information is in their hands, they [the hackers] are going to try and empty out the bank account as much and as fast as possible. By the time the person contacts the bank, it may be too late.’

He cautioned Plenty of Fish members who have accessed the dating website this week to watch out for fraudulent payments from their accounts, and to put their banks on alert for unusual behaviour.

Author: Amanda Walker

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