Los Angeles Times

Affair- enabling website is said to be hacked

- By David Pierson david. pierson @ latimes. com

Hackers are threatenin­g to expose data on more than 30 million users of Ashley-Madison. com, a website targeted to cheating spouses known for its tagline “Life is short. Have an affair.”

A group of hackers called the Impact Team reportedly has posted some data and is demanding that parent company Avid Life Media shut down Ashley Madison and a sister site, Establishe­d Men. com, according to Krebs on Security, ablog run by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs.

The Toronto- based Avid Life Media said Monday that it had closed the breach in its computer system and was working with law enforcemen­t. Avid Life didn’t say howthe hackers got in.

In a manifesto obtained by Krebs, the hackers said, “Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Establishe­d Men offline permanentl­y in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactio­ns, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.”

In a prepared statement, the company apologized, adding, “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.”

Of course, a hack is especially damaging for Ashley-Madison and Establishe­d-Men, as it e that Avid Life Media says connects “ambitious and attractive young women with successful and generous benefactor­s to fulfill their lifestyle needs.”

Privacy is paramount to the company’s business strategy. Ashley-Madison has been adding users so rapidly itwas considerin­g an initial public offering.

The hackers said they targeted the sites in response to a feature called “full delete” in which users can erase personal informatio­n for a $ 19 fee. The Impact Team said the sites retained purchase details with names.

Two months ago, another hook- up site, Adult-Friend-Finder, was reportedly hacked, exposing 3.5 million user accounts.

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