Ashley Maddison Scams: Extremely Convincing, and Dangerous

37 million people were registered to online dating site Ashley Madison before it got hacked. Intimate details about millions of users were exposed to the world. Embarrassment, million-dollar lawsuits, bounties on hacker heads and alleged suicides soon followed.  

The media took full advantage of the juicy story, of course. But journalists aren’t the only ones. Scammers also paid attention, targeting those impacted by the breach with alarming and impressively coherent scam messages, Bitdefender antispam researchers found. Beware of extortion attempts, don’t exchange your security and wallet for fake promises or written threats!

Here are the most alarming Ashley Madison spam emails you should ignore, for your own safety:

The email, written in perfect English, claims a hacker has personal information on you, the victim and asks for 1 Bitcoin to refrain from sharing it to all your Facebook friends.

This email claims hackers have access to a very personal batch of data which they are willing to keep for themselves if the user sends them 1 Bitcoin. Using Bitcoins will ensure perfect anonymity, so the recipient can’t be traced.


The message claims to be from another victim of the breach and, in a solidary movement, encourages the user to join a collective lawsuit against Avid Life Media, by clicking on a link. The link opens a document telling the emotional story of a man who fears his family will find out about his Ashley Madison account – so, he has decided to sue the company. The story seems pretty convincing and offers users the possibility to donate up to $500 to the cause.


Despite ultra-convincing pretexts, these people are not to be trusted. You need to…

  • Be careful, think twice before opening attachments or links from suspicious emails.
  • Don’t overshare information on social networking sites – attackers can create an extensive profile of your life and later target you with specifically-crafted social engineering schemes.
  • Keep your antivirus solution up-to-date to avoid the latest e-threats.
  • Don’t unsubscribe links to newsletters via suspicious emails because spammers can grab your email address

This article is based on spam samples provided by antispam researcher Viorel ZAVOIU.

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