Hackers reportedly followed through on their threat to release the data they stole, including customer information, from Ashley Madison–a website for those wishing to have an affair. Ashleymadison.com’s owner said Tuesday that the team is examining a large batch of data posted online, which was breached by hackers last month, PC World reports.
According to CNN Money, the information is posted on what is called the “dark web,” or the part of the internet that cannot be searched using a common search engine. The information can only be viewed using a specialized browser.
Wired reported that 9.7 gigabytes of data was posted. And the information appeared to include credit card and member account details.
The authenticity of the posting cannot be confirmed at this time. However, lists of email addresses have appeared on other sites.
A group calling itself Impact Team posted data samples online on July 19, giving Avid Life Media (the site’s owner) a month to shut down the dating site and another site called Establishedmen.com. They also threatened to publish clients’ names and juicy details about their lives, according to Reuters.
Impact Team said in a statement that they posted the information because Avid Life Media had “failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men,” Wired reports. The hackers added that they “have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM (Avid Life Media) and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.”
The hackers also accused the site of overstating its number of female participants, New York Times reports. “See Ashley Madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.”
The Toronto-based company released a statement claiming it is “actively monitoring and investigating this situation to determine the validity of any information posted online” and working with U.S. and Canadian law enforcement. Avid Life Media called the act one of “criminality.”
I think several people are regretting following Avid’s slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.”
And I find it disturbing that this is referred to as “the world’s biggest” affair website. That means there are multiple affair sites. Uh-oh.