August 19, 2015– On Tuesday, hackers made good on a promise that has left untold numbers of cheaters sweating bullets for weeks. The data of at least 32 million users of AshleyMadison.com, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.“, has been published.
Among the entries from the Ashley Madison published data, more than 15,000 of the email addresses appear to be hosted on American government and military servers using the (.gov) and (.mil) top-level domains.
Last month, hackers who self-identify as The Impact Team successfully hacked into databases owned by Avid Life Media, a Canadian company that owns multiple dating sites including Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men. Hackers claim they took action because Avid Life Media was lying to their customers about a “full delete service” that required a $19 fee to be paid in order to completely scrub a users data from the site. Hackers say Avid Life Media took the money, but still retained the data.
Shortly after gaining access to the databases last month, hackers fired the warning shot:
“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”
Several data security experts have confirmed that the dumped data is indeed authentic. In fact, a journalist working at The Guardian who set up an Ashley Madison account as part of an investigation found his data in the dump.
Although it has been published, your garden variety internet user will have a difficult time accessing the data. The file is almost 10 gigabytes in size and can be viewed on the dark web using an Onion address accessible only through the Tor browser.
“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men,” hackers wrote in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s data dump. “We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data…. Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.”
It should be noted that emails are not required to be validated to have an account on the website. The only way of validating whether or not the government email addresses were indeed real accounts would be to cross reference them with the credit cards on file.