Breach Brief: Hackers threaten to expose 37 million AshleyMadison.com users


Hacker group targets AshleyMadison.com because it has allegedly been lying to customers with their “full delete” feature. 


Hackers are threatening to leak the personal details of more than 37 million users of the notorious affair website AshleyMadison.com, after claiming they broke into the site’s systems.

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What happened? According to Krebs on Security, the intruders are a group of hackers who go by the name of “Impact Team.” The team claims to have broken into the systems belonging to Avid Life Media, the owner of the site with the tagline of “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Who’s behind the attack? The hackers’ main reason for the breach is that, although AshleyMadison.com says that its $19 fee to completely erase the information of its users, this is not the case. “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,” the Impact Team reveals.

What information was breached? The group claims to have complete access to the Avid Life Media’s database, including not only user records for every single member, but financial and other proprietary information. For now, the Impact Team has only released 40MB of data, such as credit card details and several important documents.

What they’re saying: “We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information. The current business world has proven to be one in which no company’s online assets are safe from cyber-vandalism, with Avid Life Media being only the latest among many companies to have been attacked, despite investing in the latest privacy and security technologies. We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world. As other companies have experienced, these security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system. At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points. 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,” the company explained in a statement.

The intrusion of AshleyMadison.com comes in the wake of several other breaches, some of which in the same space. One in particular, AdultFriendFinder, was hacked earlier in the year exposing the personal information of about almost 4 million members. With the number of cyber incidents on the rise and no apparent end in sight, taking the necessary measures to safeguard networks has never been so paramount.

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