Top Russian Online Dating Merchant Hacked, Pays Reward

Feb 05, 2015

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.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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