Cheat­ing web­site hacked

Con­fi­den­tial cus­tomer data stolen from Ash­ley Madi­son

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A Cana­dian-owned web­site for peo­ple seek­ing af­fairs was re­cov­er­ing from a cy­ber­at­tack Mon­day af­ter hack­ers stole con­fi­den­tial cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion, posted some of it online and threat­ened to pub­lish all of it un­less the com­pany is shut down.

Avid Life Media, which owns Toronto-based cheat­ing site Ash­ley­Madi­son.com, called the at­tack an “act of cy­bert­er­ror­ism” and vowed to hold those be­hind the hack re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions.

“We apol­o­gize for this un­pro­voked and crim­i­nal in­tru­sion into our cus­tomers’ in­for­ma­tion,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. “We have al­ways had the con­fi­den­tial­ity of our cus­tomers’ in­for­ma­tion fore­most in our minds, and have had strin­gent se­cu­rity mea­sures in place.”

Ash­ley Madi­son, whose slo­gan is “Life is short. Have an af­fair,” claims it has more than 37 mil­lion mem­bers around the world.

While its site ap­peared to be work­ing nor­mally Mon­day morn­ing, an online se­cu­rity blog, Kreb­sOnSe­cu­rity.com, posted what ap­peared to be a screen­shot of the site’s home page late Sun­day bear­ing a mes­sage from those al­legedly be­hind the hack.

“We are the Im­pact Team. We have taken over all sys­tems in the en­tire of­fice and pro­duc­tion do­mains, all cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion data­bases, source code repos­i­to­ries, fi­nan­cial records, emails,” the mes­sage said, ac­cord­ing to Krebs, be­fore go­ing on to de­mand that Ash­ley Madi­son, as well as another Avid Life Media site — EstablishedMen.com — be shut down.

“Shut­ting down AM and EM will cost you, but non-com­pli­ance will cost you more,” the mes­sage said. “We will re­lease all cus­tomer records, pro­files with all cus­tomers’ se­cret sex­ual fan­tasies, nude pic­tures, and con­ver­sa­tions and match­ing credit card trans­ac­tions, real names and ad­dresses, and em­ployee doc­u­ments and emails.”

Who­ever hacked the sites claimed they did so to ex­pose al­leged lies Ash­ley Madi­son told cus­tomers about a ser­vice that al­lows mem­bers to erase pro­file in­for­ma­tion for a $19 fee, Krebs re­ported.

But Avid Life said the al­le­ga­tions about the “paid-delete” op­tion on Ash­ley Madi­son were false. The com­pany said it was of­fer­ing its full-delete op­tion free to any mem­ber in light of the cy­ber­at­tack and noted that it was tak­ing “ev­ery pos­si­ble step to­wards mit­i­gat­ing the at­tack.”

“Our team has now suc­cess­fully re­moved all the posts re­lated to this in­ci­dent as well as all per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able in­for­ma­tion about our users pub­lished online,” the com­pany said.

“Our team of foren­sics ex­perts and se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als, in ad­di­tion to law en­force­ment, are con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate this in­ci­dent.”

CP PHOTO

Ash­ley Madi­son, a Cana­dian-owned dat­ing web­site for mar­ried peo­ple seek­ing af­fairs says it has suf­fered a cy­ber­at­tack af­ter hack­ers claimed to have stolen con­fi­den­tial cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion and threat­ened to pub­lish it un­less the com­pany is shut down.

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