LOS ANGELES—The Free Speech Coalition (FSC) issued an alert Friday that it was notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a major hack of over two dozen adult websites, whose content was stolen by the hacker and uploaded to torrent sites. This hacker targeted both adult and mainstream production companies before being identified and arrested, the FSC alert said.
Agents from the FBI’s Cyber Task Force approached FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas to report the hack, which it said involved 25 sites based in North America.
"According to the FBI, the hacker had a 'calling' copying video content and uploading to bit-torrent sites," Douglas said. "Sometimes he joined, often with multiple accounts. He would then terminate his membership after breaking through the security and stealing credentials. Using those credentials, he copied the website’s content and uploaded the content. He did not steal any money."
The FSC alert said the FBI would like to notify the victims, but unlike with mainstream sites, it has had difficulty finding appropriate people to communicate with at adult sites. The FBI is interested in the following:
(1) informing the sites that they have been hacked;
(2) showing the sites where and how they are vulnerable and implicitly guiding security improvements;
(3) getting statements of estimates of loss and similar cooperation for the sentencing hearing.
The FBI is hoping to work with the FSC to inform the victims, as it has in previous data breach cases. Douglas has agreed to work as a volunteer liaison between the affected sites for members, allowing them to contact the FBI without having to disclose identifying information of any entities behind the site.
The service will be free for members of the Free Speech Coalition, and Douglas’ work in this limited capacity should in no way impact existing relationships between affected companies and their traditional counsel. If adult companies wish to pay their own legal counsel to contact the FBI separately, Douglas will put said counsel in touch with representatives from the FBI’s Cyber Task Force.
Those who are not currently members of the Free Speech Coalition, but still wish to determine if they were affected and use Douglas as an intermediary can do so by becoming members of the Free Speech Coalition at a trial rate of $100. (Companies with more than ten websites can become trial members at a slightly higher rate of $200.)
The FBI agents have also expressed interest in working with Free Speech Coalition to organize a training seminar to help improve security in the industry as a whole.
"The agents I met with observed that the level of security implemented on adult sites is significantly behind the standards of the rest of the entertainment industry," Douglas noted. "They are enthusiastic about doing a presentation with case studies of previous website security breaches to educate the interested industry players. It could be done either as a webinar or real in person seminar or both."
Current FSC members interested in finding out if they were affected by the hack should fill out and sign the designation of attorney form located here. Non-members who wish to employ their own counsel to work as a liaison with the FBI should have their counsel contact Douglas directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-members who wish to work with Douglas as a liaison can sign up for a trial FSC membership here.