Security

Popular Search Engine for Japanese Sex Hotels (Happy Hotel) Discloses a Security Breach

By Bill Toulas / January 6, 2020

The Japanese sex hotel search engine 'Happy Hotel' has published an announcement about the unauthorized access of a hacker to their infrastructure. The platform has apologized to its users about the incident, as they talk about a serious possibility of personal information having been leaked. The 'Happy Hotel' service is a platform where people may search and find "love hotels", and then book a room similar to the way Booking.com works. This makes personally identifiable information of the users of the service particularly sensitive, and now suitable for extortion attacks.

According to the announcement that was made by Almex, the owner of the search engine, the type of data that was accessed by hackers includes real names, email addresses, login credentials, birth dates, gender information, phone numbers, home addresses, and even the IDs and the payment card data. As a result of what had happened, Almex has taken down the service without an announcement of when it's expected to be back online. Perhaps they are investigating the incident and making sure to secure the platform properly before they offer it to the world again, or maybe they have decided that the damage and risks are way greater than the financial gains from its operation.

For now, there have been no identified data sets that seem to derive from this data breach, but it is very likely that an offering will be posted on dark web markets soon. The exposed individuals will now have to face phishing attempts against them, as well as extortionists targeting them and asking for the payment of ransoms. The best way to deal with these attempts is to report the actors to the police. Remember, even if you decide to pay someone to stay silent, there’s no guarantee that they won't expose you, and there’s nothing stopping them from extorting you again and again.

Unfortunately, using any online service comes with a risk of being exposed, and when the service concerns a sensitive topic, users should be very aware of the risks involved. Right now, the people who used the 'Happy Hotel' service should contact the company via "[email protected]" and send their inquiries for any reservations made previously. Finally, please note that Hapihote reservations are still valid, while other bookings must be confirmed with the hotel beforehand.

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