The Russian equivalent of popular gay hook-up app Grindr has been targeted by hackers as Russian authorities ramp up the cyber-security effort ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Dmitri T, founder and CEO of the Hunters app, told blog Towleroad that Russian users of the app had received an anonymous threat that read: "You will be arrested and jailed for gay propaganda in Sochi according to Russian Federal Law 135 Sektion [sic] 6,"
It was sent to all users in Russia, not only in Sochi.
Dmitri T added that the app was blocked in Sochi and that 72,000 user profiles were deleted throughout Russia. "Hackers completely destroyed their profiles and all their messages," he said.
"Just a few days before the opening of the Olympic Games, users trying to open this app in Sochi were greeted with an alert saying that their profile was blocked for the next 55,000 minutes (38 days)," he reported. The company was able to restore 24% of the profiles after 12 hours.
The attack raised suspicions that the Kremlin could be behind the hack to discourage a gays coming together in Sochi
Jarno Limnel, director of cyber security at Intel Security, told IBTimes UK that a heightened threat of cyber-security had meant there was "no privacy" is that at the Sochi Olympics.
"Everything is monitored. Everyone also knows that everything is monitored and learns to live with this state of affairs, adapts to it," Limnell said.
Russian prime minister Dimitry Medvedev signed into law a decree in 2013 that, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, authorised the government to "collect telephone and internet data of the Games' organisers, athletes, and others, with particular emphasis on journalists".
Dmitri T said that the Russian government "decided to take full control of the internet and implement Turkish practices where Grindr has been banned for almost half a year".
He added: "This attack is connected to increasing censorship of the internet and very soon other gay dating resources in Russia will face similar problems."