Hzone, an online dating service for the HIV-positive, threatened to infect a writer and their family with HIV after learning that the DataBreaches admin would be writing a story about major data leaks from Hzone’s systems in November.
The database leaks, which exposed over 5,000 profiles, were shared privately with Hzone by security researcher Chris Vickery in early December, but no reply was received.
Dates of birth, cities and countries, religions, email addresses, numbers of children, ethnicity, height, IP addresses and hobbies were just some of the information leaking out of Hzone’s database. According to DataBreaches, personal messages were also leaked, including sensitive posts like the following:
Hi. I was diagnosed 3 years ago now. CD4 and Viral Load is relatively good. I’m therefore not on Meds yet. My 6-monthly blood tests are due in June. Planning to go in meds. I’m worried about the side effects. What kinds of side effect have you experienced? Xx
Due to Hzone’s inaction after being notified multiple times about the leaks, DataBreaches filed a complaint with both the FTC and Apple’s App Store, but again received no reply. Users could not even delete their accounts. DataBreaches received the following shocking reply from Hzone when they were notified that the incident would be written about:
Why do you want to do this? What’s your purpose? We are just a business for HIV people. If you want money from us, I believe you will be disappointed. And, I believe your illegal and stupid behavior will be notified by our HIV users and you and your concerns will be revenged by all of us. I suppose you and your family members don’t want to get HIV from us? If you do, go ahead.
Hzone has since apologised for the threat, and the database leaks have been fixed. But the dating service has since stated to DataBreaches that they would not notify users about the leak.
Charlie Nash is a libertarian writer, memeologist, and child prodigy. When he is not writing, he can usually be found chilling at the Korova Milk Bar, mingling with the infamous. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrNashington.