Ashley Madison: ‘Moral’ hacking or old-fashioned stealing? (+video)

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2.7 lakh Indians at risk after cheating website Ashley Madison gets hacked: Report.

More than one million British adulterers could be at risk of blackmail after an online dating service which helps users cheat on their partners suffered a major cyber attack.One in five Ottawa residents allegedly subscribed to adulterers’ website Ashley Madison, making one of the world’s coldest capitals among the hottest for extra-marital hookups – and the most vulnerable to a breach of privacy after hackers targeted the site. Ashley Madison, the website which has the tagline ‘life is short, have an affair’, could also face multiple class action lawsuits from its 37.5 million customers across the world.

Hackers who go by the name, ‘The Impact Team’ claim that to have personal details of more than 37 million cheating spouses and have threatened to release nude photos and sexual fantasies of the site’s clients unless it is shut down. Hackers threatened to leak details including the credit card information, nude photos, sexual fantasies and real names of as many as 37 million customers worldwide of Ashley Madison, which uses the slogan: “Life is short. The group had taken over Ashley Madison’s Canadian parent Avid Media systems, including customer databases, source code, financial records and emails, according to a screen grab shown on the KrebsOnSecurity blog. Ken Westin, Senior Analyst at cybersecurity company Tripwire said: “Information associated with adult services has the potential to ruin lives, be used for blackmail or even espionage purposes if government officials are involved.” The hackers posted a threat saying they were angered by the website charging users £15 to remove their details from the website once they had cancelled their account. The hackers also demanded the closure of another of Avid Life Media’s sites, sugar-daddy site “Established Men”, but did not target the company’s “CougarLife” site, which caters for women members looking for “a young stud”.

The sleepy city, with a population of around 883,000 boasts 189,810 users, according to Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns the service. In its latest statement, Ashley Madison said its customers’ privacy is of the “utmost concern”, and that it is now offering its “full delete” option free to any member, in light of the hack.

ALM faced a huge hack this week from a group called the Impact Team, exposing 37 million users’ data in a demand to take down Ashley Madison and sister site EstablishedMen.com. The one bright spot for millions of Ashley Madison’s nervous clients is that the hack appears to be an inside job, according to police and intelligence sources. Pulina Whitaker, a partner at Morgan Lewis, said: “Canada has very tight data protection laws, and British victims should be able to get redress through the Canadian courts and join a class action suit.” Privacy lawyer David Fraser told CBC News that in Canada, there is a precedent for protecting class-action participants’ identities, so users of the site would not necessarily “out” themselves if they took part, but they may need to prove financial loss in order to claim damages. In a newspaper report published earlier this year, Biderman admitted that capital cities usually top subscription rates for the adulterous service. “Why do you think everyone goes to Montreal to have a good time?” Kary, who refused to give her last name, told Reuters. “Ottawa is the city fun forgot.”

Jack Izzard, Director, Rhizome PR, argued that despite their previous PR stance, the hack will hit the brand hard: “It’s ironic then that a company that has lived by the sword may now die by it. “This hack is an instant passion killer, equivalent to hearing your other half’s key in the front door. The hackers want Avid Life to shut down the website, as well as a second one it runs, EstablishedMen.com which is widely described as a “sugar daddy site,” but has no issues with CougarLife.com, a site for older women looking for hookups. “In our buttoned-down city, it may not be acceptable to openly explore outside of a committed relationship,” said Ottawa marriage counsellor Nataxja Cini.

The hacking group states that, “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.” They also said that a “paid delete” function will not remove all information about a member’s profile and communications. Though, the report says that select documents from the company’s file servers, executives’ Google drives and emails that were dumped on websites such as gitlab, bitbucket, launchpad and imgur appear to have been removed. As of now, the dating website company has reportedly hired UK cybersecurity firm Sycura to investigate the breach and is working with police to trace those behind the attack. In an interview with KrebsOnSecurity, Avid Life Chief Executive Noel Biderman was cited as saying the company suspected someone who had access to internal networks as being behind the breach. Tags: Ashley Madison, Ashley Madison compromised, Ashley Madison hack information, Ashley Madison hacked, Ashley Madison hackers, Ashley Madison India, Ashley Madison Indians

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