Photo (cc) by DominÖ
Hackers have published the names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses and credit card numbers of up to 32 million people who used the adultery website Ashley Madison.
The data dump comes just one month after the information on AshleyMadison.com, “the world’s largest website for married men and women looking to have a discreet affair,” was hacked, CNN Money reports.
“The data is posted on what is known as the dark Web, a part of the Internet that can’t be searched by Google or most common search engines,” CNN Money explains. “It can only be viewed with a special Tor browser.”
However, after the information is accessed, it can simply be copied and pasted from there to somewhere else on the Internet, so it’s unlikely that the alleged adulterers’ information will stay secret for long.
The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, accessed the information in July and threatened to publish it unless Toronto-based Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, CougarLife.com and EstablishedMen.com, took the Ashley Madison and Established Men sites down.
According to Krebs on Security, links to the dumped data files were preceded by a text file message titled “Time’s Up.” The message read in part:
“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.”
Although the validity of the published data has been questioned, Krebs On Security said, after checking with three vouched sources, “there is every indication this dump is the real deal.”
The credit card numbers listed in the massive data dump are real and many are still active, said Per Thorsheim, a cybersecurity expert in Norway, speaking to CNN Money.
Avid Life Media said it’s working with law enforcement.
“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,” the site said. “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.”
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