Ashley Madison Hack: Hackers Threaten To Expose Personal Information Of Infidelity Website Users
Ashley Madison is now offering to delete client profiles for free following a massive hack of the cheating site that threatened to expose anonymous users.
Ashley Madison Hack
On Sunday, a group identified as the Impact Team, announced they had hacked Ashley Madison, a website for adulterers – their tag line is “Life is Short. Have an Affair” – and collected all their customer information. According to their statement, the Impact Team had been running their hack for years: “We have hacked them completely, taking over their entire office and production domains and thousands of systems and over the past few years have taken all customer information databases, complete source code repositories, financial records, documentation and emails, as we prove here,” wrote the Impact Team.
The Impact Team threatened to release customers’ personal information “including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails” if Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison, did not take down Ashley Madison and another dating site, Established Men. Ashley Madison boasts over 37 million users.
In their statement, the group warned Ashley Madison customers that the “Full Delete” option, which promises to erase all digital traces of a user’s account for $19, is “a complete lie.” In other words, the hackers have the information relating to deleted accounts and are not afraid to share it with the world. Should Ashley Madison and Established Men remain active, Impact Team has sworn to release all data accumulated from the hack, an action they believe will inspire former users who paid for the Full Delete option to sue Avid Life Media for fraud.
“Avid Life Media will be liable for fraud and extreme personal and professional harm from millions of their users unless Ashley Madison and Established Men are permanently placed offline immediately,” reads the letter.
Ashley Madison Makes Full Delete Free For Members
Following the public threat, Ashley Madison responded, desperately trying to assure users that they had contacted IT support and had secured their site. “We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information. We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world,” they said in an official statement.
Ashley Madison added that they are currently working with law enforcement, who are investigating the hack, and defended themselves against the accusation that the Full Delete was a fraud, writing, “Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the ‘paid-delete’ option offered by AshleyMadison.com does in fact remove all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity. The process involves a hard-deleting of a requesting user’s profile, including the removal of posted pictures and all messages sent to other system users’ email boxes.”
In light of the hack, Ashley Madison has offered their customers one comfort: the Full Delete option is now being offered for free – “As our customers’ privacy is of the utmost concern to us, we are now offering our full-delete option free to any member, in light of today’s news.”
Ashley Madison CEO Says Hack Was Inside Job
As Ashley Madison continues to work hard to erase any hacked information published online, the site’s CEO and Founder Noel Biderman revealed on Monday that he believes the hack was an inside job, and hinted that the first data dump was a sign that they were getting close to finding the hacker responsible. “We’re on the doorstep of [confirming] who we believe is the culprit, and unfortunately that may have triggered this mass publication. I’ve got their profile right in front of me, all their work credentials. It was definitely a person here that was not an employee but certainly had touched our technical services,” Biderman revealed.
While the hack is serious, many on the Internet are having fun seeing the irony in a cheating site being hacked.
— Eric Drozd (@EricDrozd) July 21, 2015
— Chris Edwards (@_ChrisEdwards_) July 21, 2015