Internet dating site Ashley Madison has fallen victim to online hackers who claim to have gained access to millions of user’s personal information.
The site offers an environment in which married people can use the internet to find potential affairs, using the tagline “Life is Short. Have an affair.” Brian Krebs, of the blog Krebs on Security, first reported the breech Sunday night, reporting that hackers referring to themselves as the Impact Team claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Krebs, the group gained access to both user and financial information, effecting roughly 37 million users. Krebs also reported that the group stole information from Avid Life Media, which, in addition to owning Ashley Madison, also owns numerous other dating sites such as Established Men.
The hacker or hackers published some information in response to the ‘full delete’ service that Ashley Madison offered to its clients. The service, which costs roughly $20, is purported to completely delete all user information associated with an account, although the ‘Impact Team’ claimed that the service did not completely delete things such as a user’s real identity and credit card information. The hacker group claimed that the full delete service resulted in a $1.7 million gain for Avid Life Media last year.
They made it clear that their goal was to get Avid Life Media to cease operation of their dating sites.
“Shutting down AM [Ashely Madison] and EM [Established Men] will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more,” the hacker group wrote in their address revealing the breech. “We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customer’s secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” the statement read. “Avid Life Media will be liable for fraud and extreme harm to millions of users.”
According to Krebs, the Impact Team has only published a small portion of hacked information, though he also reported that they may be planning to publish more information for every day Avid Life Media refuses to take down the sites.
Krebs also reported that the company believes they may be close to identifying the individuals that may be responsible for the breech. According to Noel Biderman, the Avid Life Media CEO, the hacker may be an individual who was formerly close to the company.
A similar incident occurred in which online site Adult Friend Finder was breached nearly two months ago.