Patreon donor details apparently spilled after massive hack

A hack of the popular crowdfunding platform may be worse than Patreon itself has let on.

Crowdfunding site Patreon has become the latest victim of a data breach, though this one’s slightly more interesting than your garden variety hack.

Patreon acknowledged the breach on September 30, saying that hackers gained access to names, email addresses, posts, and some shipping addresses, along with some billing addresses that added prior to 2014. The site also reported unauthorized access to encrypted passwords, social security numbers, and tax form information. Credit card data wasn’t compromised in the breach.

The theft of encrypted passwords and social security numbers isn’t unheard of in data breaches, and while it’s possible to crack the encryption with enough effort, Patreon at least used a powerful hashing function called bcrypt. This should make any cracking attempts much slower and more difficult due to the computational power required.

The problem, Ars Technica reports, is that the hacked data appears to include source code. As we saw with the hack of infidelity website Ashley Madison—which also used bcrypt—hackers could use this code to dig up programming errors that might aid the password cracking process. If Patreon’s encryption key is discovered, it could also reveal users’ social security numbers and Tax IDs.

The hack is also unique for its inclusion of donation records, along with correspondence between supporters and their beneficiaries. “The dollar figure for the Patreon campaigns isn’t the issue,” security researcher Troy Hunt wrote on Twitter, “it’s supporters identities, messages, etc. Everything private now public.”

Why this matters: Internet firms often point to the strength of their encryption when passwords and other sensitive details are stolen. But this hack just shows that if a breach is extensive enough, it can still cause real damage despite powerful cryptography.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hack

More about Twitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jared Newman

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts