Cheating spouses who use the extramarital affair web portal Ashley Madison now have reason to be worried – according to a hacking team, who go by the name “The Impact Team”, Ashley Madison has been hacked and now 37 million users’ financial records and data are at its disposal.
Hackers have threatened to expose sensitive information such as names, addresses, credit card details and sexual fantasies of the users unless Ashley Madison and dating website Established Men are taken offline… permanently.
Both sites, along with dating website Cougar Life, are owned by Canada-based company Avid Life Media (ALM), which was the target of the hack.
Ashley Madison’s famous tagline “Life is short. Have an affair” received protests from outraged Singaporeans after it announced that it planned to set up a branch website here in the island-state in 2013. The MDA moved to disallow the website after Singaporeans petitioned the government to ban the website.
The website now boasts 37,565,000 users in about 46 countries including South Korea and Japan, and claims to be the world’s second-largest paid-for Internet dating website, behind Match.com.
The Impact Team released snippets of stolen information and claimed that the reason for the hack was that the company had lied to its customers about its “full delete” feature, which allows users to erase their data for a small fee, reported security blog KrebsOnSecurity.
“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team wrote.
“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.”
ALM said in a statement on Monday (July 20): “We apologise for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information.”
It added: “At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorised access points.”