AshleyMadison.com, which is essentially a dating website that helps married individuals cheat, has been hacked.
The data stolen in the hack includes the company’s databases of 37 million users, financial records, and other proprietary information.
The reveal of the hack came from krebsonsecurity.com. According to the report, Ashley Madison’s slogan for the website is “Life is short. Have an affair.” As the hack continues, 37 million users are now at risk of being exposed for potentially cheating on their partners.
A group, which goes by the alias of “Impact Team” has claimed responsibility for the hack – according to the report. When it comes to the critical data stolen, Impact Team has revealed that it will be released to the public.
Ashley Madison, which is owned by Avid Life Media (ALM), has struck back by allowing users to delete their accounts for free; however, according to a report via theguardian.com, Impact Team has claimed that dating site does not in fact fully delete all information about a user, even after they have deleted their account.
In a statement, Ashley Madison lashed back stating that Impact Team’s claim was false. “Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the “paid-delete” option offered by AshleyMadison.com does in fact remove all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity.”
“The process involves a hard-delete of a requesting user’s profile, including the removal of posted pictures and all messages sent to other system users’ email boxes. This option was developed due to specific member requests for just such a service, and designed based on their feedback.”
While the site is essentially offering users a way out of being exposed on the internet, the stolen data has already been claimed by Impact Team, which would essentially mean that deleting a profile would be a redundant task.
Impact Team has stated that Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or the group will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.
Among the 37 million users, according to EWN, 175,000 South African users of the site may be compromised.
Online dating can get you hacked
With South Africa’s, as well as Africa’s, burgeoning mobile user market and more than half of urban cellphone users now using mobile apps, it’s a matter of time before the wrong information falls into the wrong hands.
According to a recent report by IBM, analysis of dating applications revealed that nearly 60% of the mobile dating applications they studied, on the Android mobile platform, are vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks that could put personal user information and organisational data at risk.
For 50% of enterprises that IBM analysed, employee-installed popular dating applications were present on mobile devices that had access to confidential business data. With over 1000 dating sites in South Africa and even more spanning across Africa, the potential for information to get into the wrong hands through an innocent/on the side romantic encounter, is real.