Impact Team, the group of hackers that hacked into extra-marital affairs website Ashley Madison, could turn the stolen data on users into lots of money if it sells it online.
Sky News talked to someone who claims to be connected to the hacking industry. They suggested that Impact Team could sell the data it stole from Ashley Madison instead of releasing it all for free.
Impact Team has suggested that it will publicly release the user information of Ashley Madison’s clients, revealing their sexual interests, credit card details, and also information about the company behind Ashley Madison.
So far, hackers have released a small section of the stolen data to prove that they’re in possession of the files. The hacker group is demanding that the Ashley Madison website be shut down, or the data is released.
Credit card and email data from websites is worth a lot of money, and there’s an entire industry built around stealing data and selling it online. Journalists like Brian Krebs have described so-called “carding sites,” which sell sets of credit card data to scammers.
There’s currently no indication that hackers are actually planning to sell the data. Instead, they’re using it as a bargaining tool to try and shut down the affairs website. However, it’s unlikely that Avid Life Media (the company behind the site) is just going to close down Ashley Madison. That could either lead to hackers releasing the data, hackers selling the data, or something similar to what happened in the Sony Pictures hack.
When Sony refused to stop the release of “The Interview,” rejecting hackers’ demands that the film be canned, Hollywood was concerned over what could happen. The “Guardians of Peace” hacking team had even threatened to carry out terrorist attacks if the movie made it to the cinema, but nothing ever happened. The hackers simply went away, and that’s probably the outcome that Avid Life Media is hoping for.