A press release declaring “…an award for finding a vulnerability and agreed on further cooperation in the field of data security.” may sound like a trade fair competition prize, but to the Russian online dating company Topface it was anything but. The Russian company revealed they transferred an undisclosed sum of money to a hacker in exchange for approximately 20 million stolen e-mail addresses from their 92 million users. The news is sending waves among those operating online dating merchant accounts.
Cybersecurity experts usually advocate a ‘don’t negotiate with terrorists’ attitude towards hackers, but it didn’t stop Topface from coughing up major dough. Anytime an industry giant gets hacked, it makes news. But, this latest headline coming from a high risk industry caught eMerchantBroker’s attention. Online dating companies are no strangers to risk, it’s a volatile industry usually bereft of support from conventional banking merchant accounts. Topface’s difficulty recent data ransom experience is a reminder that high risk business isn’t bereft of the consequences that have hit big name retailers like Target and Smuckers in recent years.
If anything, the size and scope of your client base is what determines your vulnerability. Online dating sites can experience incredible bursts of growth when it comes to their clients. This means a business’ online dating merchant account can quickly grow in profile and become a target for opportunistic hackers. When hackers search for topics, they do their homework. They’ll track public quarterly reports, user bases, and probe your protection with great care. A hacker may be casing a business for a potential attack while the business isn’t even aware of the digital threat.
As dealers in risk-reward calculation, Topface’s recent difficulty is an dark reminder of the importance of security. As your business grows, and your high risk merchant account processes more and more transactions from consumers, the importance in security investment is pivotal. Prevention is the best medicine, and investing now in cybersecurity may protect you from paying an ‘undisclosed fund’ without you even being aware of the threat.