The personal details of 37 million AshleyMadison.com – a website used by men and women to have affairs – users have been exposed online.
This includes the details of 175,000 South African men and women who use the site.
In July, news broke that Ashley Madison was hit by hackers, who claimed to have stolen personal information about its members. The user information included names, photographs, and “sexual fantasies”.
The hacker group, called Impact Team, warned at the time that the information would be leaked online unless the site closed down.
The hackers vowed to release the names, passwords, and financial details of Ashley Madison members if their demands were not met.
Ashley Madison’s parent company said it was investigating the matter, but refused to shut down the site.
Security publication Krebs on Security, which was sceptical about the leak at first, said the Ashley Madison user data dump is the real deal.
“I’ve now spoken with three sources, who all have reported finding their information and last four digits of their credit card numbers in the leaked database,” said Krebs on Security.
Ashley Madison released the following statement in response to the data leak.
Last month we were made aware of an attack to our systems. We immediately launched a full investigation utilizing independent forensic experts and other security professionals to assist with determining the origin, nature, and scope of this attack.
Our investigation is still ongoing and we are simultaneously cooperating fully with law enforcement investigations, including by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Services and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We have now learned that the individual or individuals responsible for this attack claim to have released more of the stolen data. We are actively monitoring and investigating this situation to determine the validity of any information posted online and will continue to devote significant resources to this effort.
Furthermore, we will continue to put forth substantial efforts into removing any information unlawfully released to the public, as well as continuing to operate our business.
This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities. The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society.
We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world. We are continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement to seek to hold the guilty parties accountable to the strictest measures of the law.
Every week sees new hacks disclosed by companies large and small, and though this may now be a new societal reality, it should not lessen our outrage. These are illegitimate acts that have real consequences for innocent citizens who are simply going about their daily lives.
Regardless, if it is your private pictures or your personal thoughts that have slipped into public distribution, no one has the right to pilfer and reveal that information to audiences in search of the lurid, the titillating, and the embarrassing.
We know that there are people out there who know one or more of these individuals, and we invite them to come forward. While we are confident that the authorities will identify and prosecute each of them to the fullest extent of the law, we also know there are individuals out there who can help to make this happen faster.
Anyone with information that can lead to the identification, arrest and conviction of these criminals, can contact [email protected]