Ashley Madison Hackers To Name And Shame!

July 21, 2015

Ashley Madison is known for making the papers. For a start, it’s a dating website specifically for married people seeking affairs, so there are plenty of people out there happy to draw attention to it and condemn the users for being there in the first place.

Of course, all that attention does it point out that the website is there and so brings more traffic to the site, so the owners don’t complain about that.

However, the owners revealed on Monday that they had been the victim of hacking, and it wasn’t just a failed hacking attempt follow by threats of the real thing. It happened, and now the hackers are threatening to “name and shame” the users of the website by exposing their private information to the world!

Impact Team

The intruders to the website, calling themselves the “Impact Team”, managed to gain access to the site and apparently get hold of sensitive information – information they are now threatening to release to the public unless the site is completely shut down.

This “Impact Team” left a note for the users and for the website owners, stating “we have taken over all systems in your entire office and production domains, all customer information databases, source code repositories, financial records, emails.”

They then moved on to threats, saying that “shutting down AM (Ashley Madison) and EM (Established Men) will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more: we will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. Avid Life Media will be liable for fraud and extreme harm to millions of users.”

This is, of course, the Impact Team completely ignoring the fact that they are the ones releasing the information, not Ashley Madison, but they don’t stop there.

They address the CTO of Avid Life Media, quoting him as once saying that “I would hate to see our systems hacked and/or the leak of personal information” and followed it up with “Well Trevor, welcome to your worst fucking nightmare.”

Fighting words!

Considering that Ashley Madison claims to have more than 37 million “anonymous members” on their site, that is a lot of information to leak… and they are also not denying that it happened. In fact Noel Bidernman, the chief executive of the company, stepped forward to say outright that “we’re not denying this happened” before going on to say that, “like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”

It absolutely is. Yes, the Impact Team are suggesting that Ashley Madison will be the ones facing fraud charges, but is that really going to be the case? The Impact Team are the ones who committed an offence here.

As the website later explained, “following the earlier unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our system, Avid Life Media immediately engaged one of the world’s top IT security teams – with whom we have worked in the past – to take every possible step toward mitigating the attack”. So the teams are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and law enforcement are now involved to try and catch those responsible… but should you be worried?

The site is still operational, and although the Impact Team are said to have released the identities of some of the Ashley Madison users on Sunday night, it is now Tuesday… and we have heard nothing else about it. For the internet, that is a long time to wait while nothing happens.

Is it secure?

The big worry for many out there is that it is no longer secure. However, the homepage of the website still brags about the “100% discreet service” and that it has a “trusted security award”.

Given the fact that the website has just been hacked, it doesn’t really settle your worries, does it?

Well, for whatever reason, the hackers seem to really have it in for Ashley Madison. We get that people seem to be against the website anyway, as it is a website where you can go and have an affair, but hacking the entire website for that? Surely that is taking things just a little too far, right?

Fake profiles

It isn’t the first time that Ashley Madison has made the front pages. Last year we heard that thousands of fake profiles were said to be littering the website.

This all came about when a Brazilian immigrant filed a lawsuit to try and get money out of the company. She was “seeking $20 million for “unjust enrichment” at her expense, plus another $1 million for punitive and general damages”.

The woman believes that her time was wasted by the company as she “damaged her arms and wrists” while working hard to create 1,000 fake profiles for the website in the space of just three weeks. The belief is that the more profiles the site had, the more men would be attracted to it to pay.

Obviously, the website denied the allegation completely, stating that the fake profiles were actually all just a part of testing, while also pointing out that Silva has spent a lot of time “recovering” from her injuries (which apparently prevent her from working) by going to the beach and even jet-skiing. They also pointed out that she still has “a very active presence on the internet”, despite the fact that she can’t use a keyboard.

Yet despite all of these claims of fake profiles and hackings, the website is still up and running, and many people are still visiting the site. The owners have taken the necessary steps to make their users feel safe again, and have even offered free profile deletion to all users, if they are truly worried about their secrets getting out.

It’s nice of them to offer, but is it too little too late? What do you think about the Ashley Madison website? You can let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.

Lara Mills
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