An elite dating site that only permits attractive people to sign up has reportedly had private information about more than a million users leaked.
The data breach is understood to have seen addresses, mobile phone numbers, sexual preferences, incomes and some 15 million private messages offered for sale on the dark web.
Beautifulpeople.com seeks to exclude people deemed unattractive from its community by having existing users rate them as part of the registration process.
The site markets itself as “a playground for the aesthetically blessed” and claims to have spawned 700 marriages, as well as a number of TV and modelling careers for members scouted online.
But it has attracted controversy for denying millions of “ugly” people access to the site and claiming to have culled thousands of members for gaining weight.
According to Forbes, details of the breach affecting 1.1 million daters first emerged in December 2015, when beautifulpeople.com said the compromised data had come from a test server, which had been quickly locked down.
But Australian security expert Troy Hunt said contacts in “data trading circles” had since confirmed the data had made it on to the dark web, where it was being hawked around by online criminals.
He told Forbes: “We’re looking at in excess of 100 individual data attributes per person – everything you’d expect from a site of this nature is in there.”
Mr Hunt, who is also a regional director for Microsoft, and Forbes said they had verified that a number of leaked accounts were genuine with users of the site – although “a handful” of emails in the data dump did not appear to be linked to the site.
Sky News has contacted beautifulpeople.com for comment.
The leak is dwarfed by last year’s hack of adultery website Ashley Madison – which saw around 37 million users exposed.
In February a hacker claimed to have obtained user data from another dating site – Mate1 – offering 27 million user passwords for sale.