Hackers Release Personal Info on Ashley Madison Users: Is It Time to Panic?

It's finally happened. After threatening for weeks to expose stolen data, hackers calling themselves The Impact Team have released what they claim to be personal and financial information on Ashley Madison.com's estimated 32 million users.


A month ago The Impact Team demanded that Avid Media take down its websites, AshleyMadison.com and EstablishedMen.com. They claimed they had hacked the websites and stolen information on the users -- and they said they would release this data if their demands were not met. 

More from The Stir: Online Dating Site Hacked & 37 Million Cheaters Are About to Be Exposed

Tuesday night they released the data with this statement:

Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data. ... Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.

Here's everything we know about the AshleyMadison.com leak so far.

1. The Impact Team's "data dump" is not easy to search. The Impact Team downloaded the data on the dark web using an address only people using a Tor browser can access. It's said to include seven years' worth of credit card transactions, user names and mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and some profile information. Only the last four digits of users' credit cards were released.

2. But a lot of unrelated tech-savvy people are making that data searchable. 4Chan users and Redditors among others are using the data to create searchable websites like AshleyMadisonLeaked.com, which reveals users' relationship status ("attached male seeking female") and the sexual fantasies the user is open to ("open to experimentation").

Are you tempted to search for your husband's email now?

3. Experts say the info is legit. Avid Media is trying to convince the public that the leaked information is probably bogus. But experts disagree. Huffington Post spoke with security specialists and developers who believe the leaked Ashley Madison data is real. And web security blogger Brian Krebs says he spoke with three anonymous users who say they found their info in the dump. I'm sure he is not one of those users ...

4. Looks like Tony Blair is a member. He's probably not. But someone used his work email address to create an account. AshleyMadison.com does not verify email addresses.

5. Users appear to include people in the military and in government. Hackers dug up at least 15,000 email addresses ending in .gov or .mil. Using your work email for an infidelity site? Really, guys?

6. The leak includes quotes from people's profiles. "I’m looking for someone who isn’t happy at home or just bored and looking for some excitement," Wire magazine reports one Canada-based user profile says.

7. The hackers also released data from another Avid Media website, EstablishedMen.com. This site is for rich sugar-daddy types looking for beautiful younger women to indulge. Interestingly, Impact Team left another Avid Media site, CougarLife.com, untouched. 


Incidentally, did you know today Bill Clinton's birthday? We're sure that's just a coincidence, as is today's news that the FDA approved the new "female Viagra" medication. What a wacky Wednesday! Okay, we'll let you go search for your man's email address now. Kidding, just kidding!


Image via Dirima/shutterstock

Read More >