Hackers who stole private customer info from the extramarital-dating site AshleyMadison.com released nearly 10 gigabytes of user information from the July security breach.
Wired reports that the data was dropped on the Dark Web.
The data dump includes customer logins, plus “credit card and other payment transaction details” for some of the site’s 40 million users, according to Wired.
Among the details released is a sampling of what some Ashley Madison users were looking for.
One user wrote: “Looking for someone who isn’t happy at home or just bored and looking for some excitement.”
Another user was checking for someone “who wants to feel sexy and hot” and claimed to be “very easy-going” and “very giving.”
The original data breach was first reported by security expert and blogger Brian Krebs July 19. Krebs said at the time that the hackers’ primary complaint was that the company charges customers $US19 for a “full delete” of a user’s profile, but “failed to deliver on the promise.”
The company has denied failing to respond to users’ delete requests.
The fee for such requests reportedly netted the company about $US1.7 million in revenue in 2014.
After the hack the company began allowing users to delete their profiles for free.
Ashley Madison, which claims to be “the most famous name in infidelity and married dating,” was planning a $US200 million IPO later this year before the breach took place.
Avid Life Media, the company that owns AshleyMadison.com, released this statement shortly after the breach.
In the Wired report on Tuesday, the publication quotes a statement accompanying the online dump from Impact Team — the alleged hackers — who say “Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men.”
“We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM [Avid Life Media] and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data,” the hackers said, according to Wired.
It was thought that the hackers could turn the data dump into a huge payday, under the right circumstances.
The site has been the target of fierce criticism for catering to the extramarital proclivities of its users.
A woman who once worked for the hookup site explained what it was like, at one point calling it “one of the best companies” she’s been part of, but noting that there were “many sites dedicated to bringing [it] down,” adding that the company would “receive death threats constantly.”
She claimed the threats typically came from two types of people: “Wives who caught their husbands using the site OR just random religious crazies.”
Here’s the statement from Avid Life Media following Tuesday’s data drop:
Toronto, ON August 18, 2015 — Last month we were made aware of an attack to our systems. We immediately launched a full investigation utilising independent forensic experts and other security professionals to assist with determining the origin, nature, and scope of this attack. Our investigation is still ongoing and we are simultaneously cooperating fully with law enforcement investigations, including by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Services and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We have now learned that the individual or individuals responsible for this attack claim to have released more of the stolen data. We are actively monitoring and investigating this situation to determine the validity of any information posted online and will continue to devote significant resources to this effort. Furthermore, we will continue to put forth substantial efforts into removing any information unlawfully released to the public, as well as continuing to operate our business.
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 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. We are continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement to seek to hold the guilty parties accountable to the strictest measures of the law.
Every week sees new hacks disclosed by companies large and small, and though this may now be a new societal reality, it should not lessen our outrage. These are illegitimate acts that have real consequences for innocent citizens who are simply going about their daily lives. Regardless, if it is your private pictures or your personal thoughts that have slipped into public distribution, no one has the right to pilfer and reveal that information to audiences in search of the lurid, the titillating, and the embarrassing.
We know that there are people out there who know one or more of these individuals, and we invite them to come forward. While we are confident that the authorities will identify and prosecute each of them to the fullest extent of the law, we also know there are individuals out there who can help to make this happen faster.