Sexual fantasies exposed: Online cheating site Ashley Madison hacked, 37mn users affected

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The Ashley Madison cheating website has been hacked by “an unauthorized party,” the company said. The Impact Team hackers reportedly then posted large amounts of data from the hookup site online, potentially affecting about 37 million unfaithful partners.

“We were recently made aware of an attempt by an unauthorized party to gain access to our systems,” AVID LIFE media Inc., which owns the site, said in a statement.

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The company added that they have been able “to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points.”

“We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber–terrorism will be held responsible.”

The hack was first announced by KrebsOnSecurity blog, which cited ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman who said that the company was “working diligently and feverishly” to take down ALM’s intellectual property.

“We’re not denying this happened,” Biderman said. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”

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The service, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair”, has seen large amount of data stolen, said KrebsOnSecurity, adding that the leak “compromised the company’s user databases, financial records and other proprietary information.”

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The Impact Team posted the ‘strawberry’ data online, saying that ALM lied to its customers that the site allows users to completely erase their profile information for a $19 fee.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mn in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the group said in a statement, as cited by KrebsOnSecurity. “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.”

The hackers said that Avid Life Media “has been instructed” to take Ashley Madison “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.”

Launched in 2001, Ashley Madison, is an online dating service which is for those who are already in relationship. According to SimilarWeb service, the controversial site, which is based in Canada, has over 124 million visitors per month.

Ashley Madison used to publish maps of any of the world’s cities showing “the cheating hot spots.” These “hot spots” included hotels, restaurants and cafes. According to the ‘adult’ site, Canada, US and Australia are the top cheating countries.