Impact Team, the hackers who hacked into Avid Life Media, the company that owns and operates Ashley Madison, the dating site for married people seeking to have an affair, followed through with their threat and have released 9.7 gigabytes of the stolen data including email addresses, credit card transaction details, partial credit card numbers, addresses and even dating profiles. Among the email addresses were 10,000 US military email addresses and hundreds of US government email addresses although it is important to note that the email addresses used to set up an account with Ashley Madison were not verified by Ashley Madison when accounts were set up so anyone could set up an account using someone else’s email address. Ashley Madison is not the first dating website to be hacked and have sensitive information released to the public. In May, Adult Friend Finder, was hacked and personal information of 3.5 million members was released to the public. Ashley Madison claims to have 40 million users. Impact Team released the information on various dark web website with the announcement copied below. Although these dark web websites are encrypted and not generally available, it can be expected that the information will become public soon.
One of the key lessons here is that your personal information is only as safe as the places with the weakest security that have your information. It is for this reason that you should never leave your credit card on file for convenience with a website. Enter it anew each time you make a purchase on Amazon or any other website that you may go to frequently. As for Ashley Madison in particular, it is a good lesson to remember that you should never give information to any website that would be a source of embarrassment to you if it were to become public after a data breach.
Customers of Ashley Madison can go to a number of websites that have been recently set up to see if their personal information was among the information compromised. Here is a link to one of them. https://ashley.cynic.al/