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Cheating partners face exposure after Ashley Madison hack

Barry Collins
20 Jul 2015
Ashley Madison
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Site that encourages married people to have affairs has its customer database published online

Its motto is "Life is short. Have an affair." But life could get much shorter for the cheating partners who used the Ashley Madison website, after hackers published customer details stolen from the company's database. 

Ashley Madison describes itself as the "world's leading married dating service for discreet encounters", and claims to have more than 37 million members, many of those in the UK. However, a team of hackers has threatened to continue publishing the names and addresses of the site's customers unless the site is taken down. 

The hackers, known as The Impact Team, are reportedly blackmailing the site's owners, according to a report on KrebsOnSecurity, which broke the story. "Avid Life Media [the site's owners] has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails," a manifesto published alongside the leaked data reads. 

"We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online," the  hackers add. "And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people."

The hackers are seemingly confused about the motives for their attack, claiming both that the site failed to deliver on its promise to protect members' and that those members are morally repugnant. "Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion," the hackers state. "Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver."

A sppokesperson for ALM told Expert Reviews: "Following the earlier unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our system, Avid Life Media immediately engaged one of the world’s top IT security teams to take every possible step toward mitigating the attack.

"Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), our team has now successfully removed the all posts related to this incident as well as all Personally Identifiable Information about our users published online. We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds and are pleased that the provisions included in the DMCA have been effective in addressing this matter."

 

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