AshleyMadison.com is a website that was created to help cheaters find somebody to have an affair with. Recently, a group of hackers known as the “Impact Team” allege that they were able to hack the website and steal millions of users’ private information.
The Impact Team claims that they were able to obtain personal data from the site’s 37 million users that includes their sexual fantasies, illicit conversations, nude photographs and matching credit card transactions to users real names and addresses.
Below is a portion of the statement released by the hackers:
“We are the Impact Team. We have taken over all systems in your entire office and production domains, all customer information databases, source code repositories, financial records, emails … 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.”
The websites offer their users a “complete erase” option which basically deletes all prior history of any transactions or access the customer has had on the website. Although the Impact Team claimed this delete service was not effective because the website continued to retain personal information, the Avid Life Media group released a statement confirming that their delete service was entirely effective and is now being offered for free.
Avid Life Media’s Noel Biderman told Krebs on Security, “We’re not denying this happened, like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”
The takeaway from the Ashely Madison hack should be that the information you are putting online is public, or at the very best “semi-private.” There are hackers as well as legitimate programmers working on experimental algorithms analyzing your every move it seems. One can only wonder what these algorithms will be able to do in the very near future. The days of having a private life may very well be over.
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