This login info offered a possible mechanism for miscreants to harvest further information from users' profiles.
The issue came to light after users received offensive messages to email addresses they only used with the service.
Jes Breslaw, director of strategy at Delphix, commented: "Given that the spam came as a result of a third party, it's likely the original breach came from a test system – which demonstrates the importance of adopting multi-layered security measures when working with third party consultants, contractors or outsourcers." Marco Cova, senior security researcher at Lastline, added that although the leaked information wasn't particularly sensitive it might still be used as fodder for follow-up phishing attacks.
asked Guardian Soulmates for a comment but we're yet to hear back.
But the dating site, which charges users up to £32 a month, only confirmed what happened in April.
It is not known how many customers were affected, but the Guardian said it received 27 complaints and that the problem has since been resolved. Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey, said the problem was compounded by the fact that ‘many people use a dating site, find a partner, and move on with their lives without realising their details are still in the system’.
Soulmates is one of the UK’s longest running online dating brands and is a flagship commercial business of the Guardian.
A premium paid-for product, Soulmates sits within a busy, highly competitive market, appealing to a progressive, metropolitan audience.The brand also needed to reflect its premium positioning and be appropriate for a discerning, international audience.We defined Soulmates as a place where like-minded people who share similar passions, pastimes, quirks and irks, connect over the stuff that makes them, them.New logo, custom typeface, imagery, copy and iconography — an entire brand toolkit designed to reflect the big idea.Extensive guidelines, including printed and digital example applications, brand strategy and user experience.One property The Guardian optimizes frequently is its dating site, Soulmates.