The hackers acquired the user database via of a hack back in July and demanded Ashley Madison, as well as sister site Established Men, be taken offline. Impact Team threaten failure to comply, would result in the release of user data.
They made good on that threat.
In a statement released with that data, which went online with a note that said “Time’s Up!”,
Impact Team said Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns both sites, had “failed”: “We have explained the fraud, deceit and stupidity of ALM, and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.”
The data dump is 9.7 gigabytes in size and allegedly contains over 35 million email addresses. That’s 33 million accounts — names, addresses, and every single credit card transaction those users made from the past seven years. It could be a fake, but Ashley Madison confirmed a “criminal intrusion” last month, and some users have claimed to spot their own accounts in the leak.
The released information is still in raw form and lives on the dark web, accessible through the Tor browser only.
In this era of techno gurus and savvy bloggers looking for the next viral post you can bet your bottom dollar the data won't remain in the dark web for long.
As a matter of fact the organization 4chan users — you may remember them from their role in leaking images from the celebrity photo hack — are reportedly in the process of digging through that data and posting what they find online.
The public embarrassment and emotional toll is likely to be enormous on unsuspecting people whose extra-marital affairs may have been exposed on the web or even whose emails were used without their knowledge to sign up for the site.
The lawyers are going to do well when the data hits mainstream. Prominent divorce lawyer Raoul Felder said the release is the best thing to happen to his profession since the seventh Commandment forbade adultery in the Bible.
"I've never had anything like this before," he said.
The divorce courts could get flooded.
This is a data breach that won't find a lot of opposition. Infidelity is not embraced by the whole of society, and if there was ever a hack that could be viewed as a good- most would say this is it.
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