NEW YORK – Hackers who hit cheaters’ dating site, Ashley Madison, published stolen customer data, experts said Tuesday.
The data is posted on what is known as the “dark web,” a part of the Internet that can’t be searched by Google or most common search engines. It also can only be viewed with a special Tor browser, according to Per Thorsheim, a cybersecurity expert in Norway. The information that was posted included customer names and credit card numbers, Thorsheim said. The amount of money they spent on the site was also posted.
The site, which is owned by Avid Life Media, is designed to help married people cheat on their spouses. Its slogan is ,”Life is short. Have an affair.”
It said it’s actively monitoring this situation and working with law enforcement in the United States and in Canada, where the site is based.
“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com,” the site said. “The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society.”
The hack attack was first revealed a month ago. At that time hackers who called themselves the “Impact Team,” said they would release “profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” if the site was not shut down. Samples of the stolen data were published at that time, according to the hackers.
Thorsheim said that he could not confirm whether more personal information, such as the sexual fantasies and addresses of customers, was included in the data dump. He said a massive amount of data is included in the posting. Even when compressed it came to 9.7 gigabytes of data.
The hackers posted a statement Tuesday under the headline “Time’s Up!” announcing the posting of the data and giving directions to view the data.
“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison,” said the statement. “We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.”
The hackers mocked the site and the customer base, saying that 90% to 95% of the users were male.
“Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles,” said the post. “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.”