Extramarital Affair Service Ashley Madison Fighting Massive Data Leak

Hackers going under the name The Impact Team have hacked data from what I will politely call the online dating service for people with unconventional attitudes toward fidelity (OK, “cheating website”), Ashley Madison. The Impact Team claims to have information about over 37 million users between Ashley Madison and its sister site Established Men, both owned by Avid Life Media.

The Impact Team claims to be threatening the data release because “Full Delete,” an Ashley Madison feature that costs $19 and is supposed to scrub a user’s data completely off of the internet, is fraudulent:

“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.”

However, the hackers go on to play moralist about the fact that it’s a site for extramarital affairs, saying, “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion.” So who knows? Maybe they’re moralists, maybe they’re mad about Ashley Madison not facilitating the thing they’re moralizing about well enough.

Or maybe The Impact Team is, in fact, someone who used to work for the company. Avid Life CEO Noel Biderman has stated that the company is performing a swift and aggressive investigation, and is just about to figure out who the culprit is. The strong suggestion, apparently, is that the hacker behind this whole mess wasn’t an employee but a person who “certainly had touched our technical services.”

Meanwhile, the hacker or hackers, whoever they are and whatever their motives, are demanding a full shut-down of Ashley Madison and Established Men that Biderman seems to be refusing to go through with. We do not negotiate with terrorists! All right, that was a little glib, but this particular data leak would be terrifying for a large cross-section of the American population whose extramarital business is nobody’s but their own and their spouses’.

[Krebs On Security]

[Screen grab via Ashley Madison]

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