A 9.7 gigabytes data dump of some 32 million users subscribed to cheating site Ashley Madison has been released by hacker group Impact Team following demands to take the website offline.
Similar threats have been made in the past, following another security incident involving the website. This time, hackers published the full database when their demands weren’t met.
Avid Life Media, owner of Ashley Media, has previously been warned by hackers to pull both AshleyMadison and EstablishedMen websites, following allegations that the company not only retained user data from paying customers who demanded it delete it (for a $19 fee), but also that 90-95 percent of users are actually male.
“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men,” Impact Team wrote in a statement accompanying the online dump Tuesday. “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.”
The dumped data contains names, addresses, phone numbers, files containing credit card transactions, and even user profile descriptions. However, it seems user account passwords were encrypted, by using the bcrypt algorithm for PHP.
Avid Life Media has responded to the incident by saying this was a criminal act and hackers took it upon themselves to act as a moral compass.
“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities,” the company said in a statement. “The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world.”
The hacker group blames Avid Life Media for the incident, as it failed to protect the privacy of its users and the group encourages affected those affected to sue the company and claim damages.