Tens of thousands of relationship cheaters are especially nervous this morning as Ashley Madison, the eHarmony for adulterers, was revealed to have been hacked by a group that is now threatening to release users’ personal data unless the site discontinues its services. The Impact Team, an unknown hacking group, released caches of users’ personal data from the website to demonstrate the validity of their claims.
Chief executive Noel Biderman, who helms the Canadian parent company Avid Life Media (ALM), acknowledged the breach and commented that he was “working diligently and feverishly” to pull the leaked data offline.
ALM has acknowledged being one of the latest companies to have been hacked despite advanced protective technologies The company has guaranteed a thorough investigation and will receive help from law enforcement going after the hackers.
Although the amount of information hacked by the Impact Team remains unclear, the hacking group has claimed to have access to financial records, user databases and other sensitive data. Samples of this data such as employee credentials and bank account data of the company have been leaked by the group.
The Impact Team says that they hacked ALM for their “false claims” that users could clear their membership information for only $19. AdultFriendFinder was hacked by cybercrooks only weeks before this incident is a very similar situation.
The Impact Team claims that, despite what ALM claims, the billing information of users such as names and addresses stay after users delete their account info.
The hackers demand that the ALM websites be taken offline or personal information of users will be leaked to the public. This hack poses a greater threat than typical security breaches of social networking or e-commerce sites. The data that was breached can potentially be used for extortion or blackmail.
Whatever the motives of the attackers the breach of an online hookup site with millions of members poses a far greater problem than a similar hack against a mainstream e-commerce or social networking site. Users are being warned by security experts of the potential risks involved with this security breach, including violence by angered domestic partners.