Tens of Thousands of Australian adulterers are waking up today to discover that the confidential details they gave to infidelity website AshleyMadison.com have been hacked.
Overnight it was revealed that digital extortionists are holding the sexual profiles of potentially 37 million adulterer’s hostage including tens of thousands of Australians.
On the front page of their Australian site they say ‘As seen on A Current Affair, Sydney Morning, Herald, Kerrie-Anne, Herald Sun, and The Australian.
Ashley Madison is the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters
According to Company sources the UK based website has over one million registered subscribers in Australia. 30% of those are believed to be females.
With a slogan like “Life Is Short. Have an Affair” and 37 million users, observers are claiming that it was only time before the web site was hacked.
The culprits are calling themselves “the Impact Team” and say that if Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, doesn’t take the site down, they’ll leak all of the data they collected on the service’s servers.
The Impact Team hackers assert that Ashley Madison’s “Full Delete” feature, which claims to remove all identifying data from company servers for $19, doesn’t actually work.
Krebs reports that the Impact Team wrote in a manifesto, “Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie.
Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
Not that the hackers are exactly on the side of Ashley Madison’s users. “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion,” the group wrote.
In a statement, Avid Life Media said:
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 … At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points.
They added, we are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber-terrorism will be held responsible.
Bloomberg said ‘In this case, millions of people who were stepping out on their spouses-and hoping and praying today that the hackers don’t dump their philandering secrets online-are discovering a serious breakdown in their operational security: They used personal credit cards to pay for the service.
Most people don’t think about it when they swipe a credit card or give the number to an online retailer, but the transaction actually reveals quite a bit about you.
First and foremost: your name. In the AshleyMadison hack, those responsible are threatening to expose data that include payment information linked to painfully sensitive details from users’ profiles.
Those profiles contain the findings of an extensive survey given to new AshleyMadison users asking them to outline their reasons for being on the site and their most secret sexual fantasies.
AshleyMadison boasts on its homepage that it is has more than 37.6 million anonymous members. It also touts that it is the leading dating service for “discreet” sexual encounters for married people.
Yet while it offers methods for paying fees anonymously, many people apparently didn’t use them. And despite the site’s assurances about privacy and discretion-including about how charges will show up on customers’ bills-it’s of little use if the data are linked on the backend in a way that hackers or malicious insiders can steal and leverage.