Dealing with sensitive data: IT security in adult entertainment!

M.Sc. Jan Hörnemann

Dealing with sensitive data: IT security in adult entertainment!

A major provider of adult entertainment published detailed statistics on activities on its website punctually at the end of the year. Why this statistic is interesting for IT security and how the Canadian operator of this website handles sensitive data.

Published statistics – insight into IT security?

The official statistics show the extremely high number of visits and interactions on an adult entertainment website. If you compare the adult entertainment website requests with the Google search engine, you get a feel for how popular pornographic websites are. About 50 Google search queries are followed on average by a search query on an erotic website, which published the statistics (39 trillion – 2044 trillion).

Sensitive data – How interesting is the site for hackers?

Data collected from adult entertainment websites by users is highly sensitive. These can provide information about sexual orientation or sexual preferences. Since the erotic websites rarely refrain from seeking connections to social networks, extensive data is also shared here.

These data must be protected extremely well, since the information that can emerge from these data are similarly sensitive as for example patient data. This is one reason why attackers try to infect websites with adult entertainment in order to spread malware widely. The extremely heavy use and disclosure of sensitive information leads attackers to search for security vulnerabilities.

This is precisely where the Canadian company, among others, comes in and introduced a so-called Bug-Bounty Program in mid-2016. Such a program motivates good-hearted security experts to search for vulnerabilities on the website. Security vulnerabilities found are paid for according to the danger posed by the vulnerability. Security researchers can earn up to $25,000 if a dangerous vulnerability is discovered and reported.

Handling sensitive data – The possibilities for users to protect themselves

It is no secret that hackers are interested in the databases of companies offering pornographic content. Users should be aware of this fact and follow the following steps to ensure that they are not vulnerable.

  • In general, the majority of adult websites make every effort to ensure that their website is secure. The reason for this is that these pages are mainly financed by advertising. Accordingly, the pages depend on regular visits by their users. Therefore, most operators try to offer a secure website. But there is never 100% security and that is why you should not be without protection on the Internet.
  • Keep browsers and firewall settings up to date so that they are not affected by known vulnerabilities. In addition, you should not be too bona fide and interpret each offer as “real”.

If you follow these tips, your sensitive data will be well protected.

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M.Sc. Jan Hörnemann

Hello dear reader, my name is Jan Hörnemann. I am a TeleTrust Information Security Professional (T.I.S.P.) and have been dealing with information security topics on an almost daily basis since 2016. CeHv10 was my first hands-on certification in the field. With a Master of Science degree in Internet Security, I have learned about many different aspects and try to share them in live hacking shows as well as on our blog. In addition, I am active as an information security officer and have been qualified by TÜV for this activity (ISB according to ISO 27001)