Business, Economics and Jobs

eHarmony passwords stolen and leaked


A sign is posted in front of the LinkedIn headquarters on February 11, 2011 in Mountain View, California.


Justin Sullivan

About 1.5 million passwords for the popular dating site eHarmony have been stolen, Ars Technica reported. The leak is linked to the same unknown hacker who also released the passwords of LinkedIn users. Overall, the hacker has posted 8 million encrypted passwords to underground forums. 

eHarmony confirmed that a leak occurred and instructed users to change their passwords. But eHarmony declined to say how the leak actually happened, which is "unsettling," Ars Technica said.

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"After investigating reports of compromised passwords, we have found that a small fraction of our user base has been affected," the dating website announced

Sites like LinkedIn and eHarmony are attractive targets to criminals because the sites allow hackers to easily access personal data, the Washington Post reported. With LinkedIn, hackers can steal information from the site to use in email "phishing" scams.

Or if a hacker is malicious, then such a leak could give him the ability to engage in extortion, such as blackmailing people with details of their online love lives, Reuters reported.

"When somebody has the keys to your business and personal kingdom, that gives them all sorts of powerful information," Mary Landesman, senior researcher at security firm Cloudmark, told Reuters. "They might be able to use it for years."