Impact Team, the now-infamous group of anonymous hackers behind the alleged theft of data from infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, explained in an interview with Motherboard that it staged this attack because it didn’t like how Avid Life Media, the site’s parent company, treated users.
“Avid Life Media is like a drug dealer abusing addicts,” says Impact Team.
So far, this week has seen Impact Team release three major data dumps of Ashley Madison data, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. In the interview, Impact Team says that it started collecting the data “a long time ago,” and Motherboard points out that it once claimed to have been at this for years.
While Ashley Madison has yet to confirm that the leaked data is real, there’s plenty of anecdotal data this week to suggest that it is, including the admission by reality star Josh Duggar that he had an active profile and was using the site to seek extramarital sex partners.
Ashley Madison has in claimed that for $US20, it will fully delete a customer’s profile, theoretically wiping all traces of your infidelity from its own servers. As many as 90,000 people took them up on that, per the leaked data.
Impact Team is alleging that the “full delete” service is a total sham, with Ashley Madison retaining the data even once you pay up.
It claims in this interview that the company makes “$US100,000,000 in fraud a year.” In the interview, Impact Team promises that the data it releases will provide evidence for the claim that Ashley Madison’s “full delete” doesn’t work.
Intriguingly, Impact Team says that it was suggested to them by unnamed third parties that they blackmail the users with the data they stole.
“We didn’t blackmail users. Avid Life Media blackmailed them. But any hacking team could have,” Impact Team says.
In the meanwhile, Ashley Madison-related blackmail is on the rise.
Impact Team also claims to have 300GB of other data taken from Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, beyond the user data.
A lot of that consists of “tens of thousands of user pictures,” Impact Team says. A third of those are “dick pictures,” Impact Team says, but it won’t release those. The rest of that miscellaneous data includes employee emails and documents, but it won’t release those either (at least not below the executive level), Impact Team says.
We’ve already seen some of Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman’s emails, thanks to the leak.
Finally, Impact Team says that once it’s done with Ashley Madison, it will strike again.
“Any companies that make 100s of millions profiting off pain of others, secrets, and lies. Maybe corrupt politicians. If we do, it will be a long time, but it will be total,” Impact Team says.