Ashley Madison, the dating website specifically built for people in relationships looking to cheat on their partners, has been hacked and those who have targeted it have released an ultimatum: its owners must shut down the site, otherwise all of its customers’ and employees’ personal information will be leaked.
The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, have managed to get their hands on the matchmaking site’s extensive user database, with them now being in ownership of the personal records of its 37 million users, along with details regarding its owners, Avid Life. The hack has been confirmed by Avid Life, who released the following statement:
We were recently made aware of an attempt by an unauthorized party to gain access to our systems. We immediately launched a thorough investigation utilizing leading forensics experts and other security professionals to determine the origin, nature, and scope of this incident.
We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information. The current business world has proven to be one in which no company’s online assets are safe from cyber-vandalism, with Avid Life Media being only the latest among many companies to have been attacked, despite investing in the latest privacy and security technologies.
We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world. As other companies have experienced, these security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system.
At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points. We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber–terrorism will be held responsible.
Avid Life Media has the utmost confidence in its business, and with the support of leading experts in IT security, including Joel Eriksson, CTO, Cycura, we will continue to be a leader in the services we provide. “I have worked with leading companies around the world to secure their businesses. I have no doubt, based on the work I and my company are doing, Avid Life Media will continue to be a strong, secure business,” Eriksson said.
However, despite them having closed the site’s access points, the hackers are still reportedly in possession of all of the data they obtained, therefore meaning that the privacy of its users and employees is still in danger.
AshleyMadison.com’s homepage. The site’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
The hackers claimed that they had orchestrated the attack due to Avid Life asking its users to pay $20 in order to have their accounts deleted, with their demands being that the company shuts down Ashley Madison along with another one of their sites, Established Men, which is a dating site for rich men.
But judging by Avid Life’s statement it seems that the company will not be answering the hackers’ demands, meaning that the personal information of its users could still be in jeopardy. It remains to be seen whether anything will come from the hack or whether those responsible will be apprehended by authorities first, but regardless of the questionable moral compass of the site’s owners, its users do not deserve to have their personal information leaked online.