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love rats

The site people use to have affairs has been hacked and all their data is leaking online


(Updated: 10:51)

AROUND 37 MILLION people will be extremely nervous today after extramarital affair website Ashley Madison was hacked and the details posted online.

The Canadian-based site sells itself with the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”.

The website had roughly 40,000 Irish users as of 2011.

Data security expert and blogger Brian Krebs revealed the hack on his site, Krebs On Security, saying a group calling itself The Impact Team was behind the hack and claimed to have stolen user databases, financial records, including salary information and other records.

Krebs says the Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media (ALM), which also runs Cougar Life and Established Men, acknowledged the breach, with CEO Noel Biderman saying the company was “working diligently and feverishly” to delete the release of IP.

Krebs says it’s uncertain how much user account data was posted online, but the hackers have threatened to post more unless ALM takes down its websites, saying its core complaint is that the company charges customers $US19 for a “full delete” of profiles, netting $1.7 million in revenue in 2014, but it failed to deliver on the promise. The Impact Team says:

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’re threatening to release all customer records, including sexual fantasies, credit card details, and real names and addresses, unless Ashley Madison and Established Men are taken offline permanently.

“Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver. We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people,” the hackers say.

The attack comes just two months after another relationship site, AdultFriendFinder was hacked and comes as Ashley Madison was considering a $200 million IPO on the London exchange later this year, although two weeks ago, Biderman told Business Insider he’d found a “better option”to the listing.

In 2014, Ashley Madison had €105.9 million in revenue off the back of solid growth in female users, and revenue was projected to top €138.2 million in the coming year.

Thorough investigation

In a statement, ALM said it has launched a “thorough investigation” of the breach and has apologised for the “unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information.” It also said that it has removed all personal information about its users online.

Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), our team has now successfully removed the all posts related to this incident as well as all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about our users published online. We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds and are pleased that the provisions included in the DMCA have been effective in addressing this matter.

ALM said its security team are investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement agencies to find those responsible for the leak.

Read more about the hack attack here.

- Simon Thomsen (additional reporting by Quinton O’Reilly)

(Originally published: 10:21)

Read: Dublin gym websites targeted by Islamist hacking group >

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