By Lisa Friedman
LA Daily News
WASHINGTON - A New Jersey company that helps run thousands of
pornography Web sites acknowledged a major security breach Wednesday,
sparking widespread concern in the adult-entertainment industry that
consumers' personal data could be endangered.
According to industry chat boards that have been buzzing about the
problem, the violation so far appears to be limited to e-mail addresses,
with an avalanche of spam e-mail hitting Web site customers' inboxes -
including unique addresses created for joining specific porn sites.
John Albright, owner of the Too Much Media Corp., said in a statement
Wednesday that no credit-card information was affected by the October
Officials with both Visa and MasterCard said they were unaware Wednesday
of any problems in connection with the company.
"An investigation is under way as to the cause and level of the security
breach," Albright said in the statement. "TMM intends to prosecute to
the fullest extent possible anyone responsible for any breach of its
servers and programs."
But many in the adult industry - based heavily in the San Fernando
Valley - said the breach could unravel hard-fought attempts to change
the longtime perception that the industry is shady.
"The adult industry has worked for a long time to become an industry
that can be trusted with personal information," said Kathee Brewer,
former editor of AVN Online, the trade journal of the digital
When customer information is leaked - even if it is only e-mail
addresses - Brewer said, "consumers begin to back away because they
don't trust the industry anymore. All it takes is one issue like this."
Phone calls and e-mails to Albright to discuss details of the breach
were not returned this week.
It remains unclear how much information may have been accessed and how
the incident began.
But industry insiders and companies that use Too Much Media Corp.
software said they have been aware since October that some customer
lists belonging to porn-site networks had been stolen. They estimated
that the number of victims could be in the hundreds of thousands.
"You can imagine the backlash," said Ilan Michan, owner of Woodland
Hills-based OC-3 Networks, a Web-hosting company that Michan said
handles about 40percent of all adult-entertainment Web sites and first
discovered the problem in October.
Michan said employees during a monthly security check noticed that the
same IP address was repeatedly trying to access his software.
Michan said the company determined that someone had accessed the user
name and password assigned to the Too Much Media software.
That program - known as NATS for Next-Generation Administration and
Tracking Software - is primarily used by Internet porn-site networks to
track activity on the hundreds of thousands of advertisers that send
traffic to their Web pages.
Advertisers, known as affiliates, also use the software to check their
own sales and traffic. About 500 affiliate networks - approximately
one-third of the industry - use the software.
In his statement Wednesday, Albright did not address what steps the
company took to inform people of the breach and possible loss of
personal information, as it is required to do under New Jersey law.
"It's a big deal for them. A lot of people went with this software
because it's supposed to be safe and secure. It makes the industry look
bad," said Christian Amico, director of operations with Atlas Multimedia
Inc., a San Fernando Valley firm that builds adult-entertainment Web
While there have been no reports of identity theft, many said the fact
that names, e-mail addresses and the types of fetishes people enjoy
might be floating around the Internet is worrisome.
"Consumer confidence is shot because of this," said Jason Tucker,
president of San Fernando Valley-based Falcon Foto, which he described
as the "world's largest erotic library."
"The industry has worked so hard in the last five years alone to make
people understand that this is a real business and we operate like a
real business," Tucker said.
"When something like this happens, consumer confidence in the adult
business drops and we're all going to suffer because of it."
Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
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