A dating site with the slogan “Life is Short, Have an Affair” has been hacked by a group calling themselves the Impact Team. The hack was first reported on the night of July 19 with the supposed culprits giving the site, AshleyMadison.com, a list of demands. According to the group, if those demands are not met, the Impact Team will release data on the site’s 37 millions users.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Impact Team Wants Ashley Madison & All Affiliated Sites Taken Down for Good
Initially, according to Ars Techina, the Impact Team posted a small amount of the sensitive data they said they took from Ashley Madison. The group claimed to have actually hacked Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media. Other sites operated by the group are Established Men and Cougar Life. Established was named specifically by the Impact Team as one of the sites it wants down. If the demands aren’t met, the hackers say 37 million customers will be outed, including names and sexual desires.
2. The Hackers Are Angry Because the Site’s Full Delete Option Doesn’t Really Work
In an interview with Krebs on Security, the site which first reported the hack, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman called the hack a “criminal act.” The Impact Team said in a statement (above) that Ashley Madison’s “Full Delete” option doesn’t really work. For $19, the site advertises a service which allows users to have every shred of information erased. The hackers say Ashley Madison doesn’t really erase the information. In 2014, Avid Life Media made over $1 million thanks to this service.
3. AshleyMadison.com Brags About Its High Level of Security on Its Homepage
Considering their entire business model is based around secrecy and confidentiality, it’s not surprising that Ashley Madison’s operators brag about the site’s security. In a full statement, the company admitted the shortcomings in the wake of the hack:
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.
4. This Comes 2 Months After Millions of Accounts on AdultFriendFinder Were Hacked
Back in May 2015, it was widely reported that the adult sex site, Adult Friend Finder, had suffered a hack. That incident resulted in the compromising of over 3.5 million people’s accounts, which included sexual fantasies.
5. One of Match.com’s Founders Called Ashley Madison a Website ‘Built on the Back of Broken Hearts’
In an interview, one of Match.com’s founders, Trish McDermott, said that Ashley Madison is a “business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages, and damaged families.” With the company’s CEO Noel Biderman biting back, saying that the website is merely a “platform for adultery” and that it can’t convince someone to cheat.