Life may be short.
But it’s going to be a long week for 37,000,000 people.
Some stories about cyber crime get kind of dry, weighted down with statistics and dire warnings about the worsening threat landscape.
This isn’t one of them.
AshleyMadison.com, a website designed specifically for married people looking to cheat on their spouses, confirmed a data breach affecting as many as 37 million subscribers.
The website, which touts the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair”, has confirmed its network was compromised by a hacker group calling itself “The Impact Team.” That group, previously unheard of, has threatened to release an avalanche of data that goes far beyond general profile information. The hackers claim to be in possession of users’ purchase details, real names and addresses, nude photos and more, and they are threatening to release this information if the site does not cease operation.
AshleyMadison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, admitted it had registered a breach on its network, but says it has since secured the site and is working with law enforcement agencies to trace those behind the attack.
The hacker group seemed especially angry that customers were charged $17 to have their personal data permanently deleted. They claim to have the names, addresses, and credit card information from all of those “permanently” scrubbed accounts. More concerning to subscribers may be the group’s plan to release that information, along with user transaction records, nude pictures, and sexual fantasies.
The breach comes about two months after dating site Adult FriendFinder was compromised. That site has an estimated 64 million members. These incidents highlight the danger of dating sites that encourage users to share their most private information and then fail to fully protect it.
Intimate details and exposure of personal indiscretions cannot be corrected with a call to your bank or through close monitoring of your credit reports. This is the breach that just might shake up public complacency about information security.