Account details of more than 250,000 people who used a site for sex workers in the Netherlands have been stolen in a hack attack.
Email addresses, user names and passwords were stolen from a site called Hookers.nl.
The attacker is believed to have exploited a bug in its chat room software found last month. Reports suggest the malicious hacker who took the data has offered it for sale on a dark web marketplace.
The website's media spokesman Tom Lobermann told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the site had informed everyone who had an account about the breach. The message sent by the site's administrators also advised people to change their passwords.
Hookers.nl used a popular program for hosting online forums and discussions called vBulletin. In late September, security researchers identified a vulnerability in the program that could be exploited to steal data. VBulletin quickly produced a
patch for the bug but several sites were breached before they could deploy and install the protection.
Sex work has been legal, but regulated by the Tunisian government since the 19th century. The current laws governing legal sex work were put in place when the country was under French colonial rule in the 1940s, and continued to apply after
independence from France.
But after the 'Jasmine Revolution' in 2010 things have gone down hill. Religious groups and women's rights activists have forced most of the government run brothels to close, leaving only a few legal sex workers remaining in the entire country,
according to a new report by the BBC chronicling the plight of Tunisia's last remaining legal sex workers.
Prior to the 2010 uprising, there were an estimated 300 legal sex workers spread among brothels in a dozen cities in the country. By 2014, that number had been reduced by more than half, to about 120. And today, according to the BBC report,
only a dozen remain, in legal brothels in just two cities, the capital city of Tunis, and Sfax.
Even for the remaining legal sex workers, the threat of religious condemnation has driven away clients, making it much more difficult to earn a living in the legal sex work business.