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Ashley Madison Hacked, Millions of Adulterers’ Details at Risk

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Ashley Madison, a website infamous for being a mainstream portal encouraging extra-marital affairs, has been hacked. The website claims to have more than with nearly 37 million registered users. The unknown individual and/or hacking group behind the cyber attack are threatening to expose the personal data of millions of users unless certain demands are met, according to numerous sources including Time.

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The news story was first reported by cyber crime reporter and enthusiast Brian Krebs on his security blog.

Users are “cheating dirtbags and deserve no discretion”, according to the hackers.

Extra-marital users’ data breach that could prove extra embarrassing

online-dating-site-ashley-madison-hackedAvid Life Media (ALM) is a Canadian company that owns Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men, all properties encouraging hookups and extramarital liaisons. The Toronto-based firm was breached by a cyber-attack from an unknown hacker group named The Impact Team.

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It wasn’t long before large dumps and caches of stolen data started appearing online. Researchers piling through the caches found:

  • Scraps of user data taken from nearly 40 million registered users in all three websites.
  • Employee information of those working at ALM.
  • Banking information of accounts and more used by ALM.
  • The salaries of individual employees at ALM.
  • Secretive framework and blueprints of the company’s internal servers.

These are The Impact Team’s demands:

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. The other websites may stay online.

Offering little sympathy for the registered users on the website, the hacking group added: “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion,” before continuing to say, “Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver. We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. “

The threat didn’t stop there, with the hacking group stating: “And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people.”

ashley madisonThe Impact Team also highlighted the website’s “Full Delete” feature which the company assures will completely wipe out all traces of a user’s account and profile from the website for $19. The hacking group says this is a lie.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” said the group. They added that credit card details which include the user’s real name and address remain and aren’t completely removed, despite the “Full Delete” service.

Noel Biderman, ALM’s CEO confirmed the hack when contacted by Krebs.

“We’re not denying this happened,” Biderman said. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”

In May 2015, the Wall Street Journal’s blog had the foresight to speculate about the likelihood of Ashley Madison being a hacker’s target after the breach of AdultFriendFinder, another hookup website not too long ago.

“Given the breach at AdultFriendFinder, investors will have to think of hack attacks as a risk factor,” the WSJ wrote. “And given its business’s reliance on confidentiality, prospective Ashley Madison investors should hope it has sufficiently, er, girded its loins.”

It is still unclear as to how much account data of AshleyMadison users has been posted online. If the hackers’ claims are to be taken seriously, there will be more data dumps published online each day the company remains online. There’s plenty of data to be revealed if all 37 million user accounts’ information has been stolen.

Image from AshleyMadison Website and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.




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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Bluecheese

    July 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Bitcoin?

  2. englishvinal

    July 21, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Sounds like the “hackers” are a group of very disgruntled wives and women….
    Anyway the old boys are in trouble….
    My father used to say.. “never put anything on a piece of paper that you don’t want read out loud in a courtroom”.. and it seems that this maxim applies to the internet.

  3. A League of Extraordinary Move

    July 21, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I just came to look at the pictures, but since I’m here it looks like bitcoin is slowly rising in popularity again which is good for me because I bought one,at the urging of my wife for $800.

  4. SententiaeDeo

    July 21, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Websites that promote sin are also prone to malware, so is it any surprise it got cracked?

  5. Robert Genito

    July 22, 2015 at 1:03 am

    I don’t agree with the site…but I also don’t agree with them not caring for their user’s privacy by NOT using a private payment system!

  6. DMo09

    July 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    BitShares.

  7. Dan

    August 20, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Hey, I’m happy, happy, happy, and I am so going to bust a gut laughing at those who were caught. It’s about time. If I were in a nation where it was legal to hack in and broadcast this kind of information publicly, as long as it was true, I think I’d be game. The only problem is that some of the accounts may have been created in the name of other people, so some innocent and unknowing people may have their names drug through the mud. But as for the real adulterers, I would just laugh, do a big fist pump and say loudly, “YES!” If you adulterers think that’s heartless, guess what. I can try to learn to play a somber tune on my fiddle for you, and just understand I would be more concerned for the spouses you cheated on than you anyway. Sorry, but that’s just the truth.

    And a nice effect of this would be if these kinds of businesses actually went out of business. It’s strange to ponder, though, whether this company would profit from making fake accounts so that every participant would sign up expecting to have a better chance of having an affair–that is, that there would be more of a selection to choose from than there actually is. i wonder if the real number is between 32 and 37 million or whether the real number is more like a couple thousand with names added to the database to inflate the numbers.

    After all, if people were cheated and did not find encounters, what are they going to do? Are they going to sue when their spouse will find out?

    I have a particular hatred for affairs for many reasons I won’t share. But it’s mostly from seeing how children and faithful spouses are left broken hearted, cheated, robbed, and miserable. it says in scripture every one engaged in this kind of behavior is going to hell. What does the Bible miss? Liars? Rev. 21:8 covers that. Cowards? Same. Immoral? Same. Abominable? Same. If someone is going to go to hell, that group would seem to have to contain adulterers. So, why encourage adultery? If you’re married, did you make promises? Are you keeping them? If not are you going to start? When? Later? Always tomorrow or next week or next year? There are people who have never committed adultery ever. Why not make it your goal to be one of them, and if you have already blown that, why not make it your goal to get to your death bed never having broken your vows again? Why not be a sincere person rather than a liar or a hypocrite or a coward or a cheat? Wny?

    Why do companies like this make any money at all? Don’t believe in hell? Do you believe in ethics? So many say they can be ethical without believing in God, but do they? It seems plenty put on a show of religion and cheat in almost every way possible. They cheat in business and they cheat in school. They cheat in their taxes and they cheat in their marriages. They cheat their children of growing up in a faithful loving family and if they say they love their spouses and their children, they are lying. If they truly loved them, they would not cheat on them. Perhaps they feel they won’t get caught. It’s nice they may get caught here. Isn’t it?

    I’ve done things I am not proud of, too. But I have never slept with a woman I did not marry. Sadly, the count there is not one but two, but the ending of my first marriage was not something I caused or was in agreement with. My second marriage is a blessing.

    I am sure I feel as much attraction to a beautiful woman as any man does. Gorgeous, sweet women are indeed a temptation to me. And temptations are everywhere. You don’t have to go looking for them. What you do have to do is to stay away from them. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph in the Old Testament, Joseph ran away. That is the right thing to do. Don’t test the water. Don’t try to see if you can explore a little further. Don’t seek to have time alone with someone who triggers an attraction response in you. If you have to be with that person, bring your spouse along.

    If you’re married, the idea behind the vows is to prevent a violation of those vows, not seek one.

  8. Glenn Davis

    November 27, 2015 at 12:44 am

    I got an email demanding I pay a certain amount, I can’t remember now how much, with bitcoins. I knew what bitcoins were, but I hadn’t heard of Ashley Madison at that time, and had to look it up. Yet another spam-scam . Even if I was on their books, I would leave a woman very frustrated. My wife had a good laugh too.
    Signed -: Unable to stand up.

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Breaches

Coincheck Hackers Launder 40% of Stolen NEM Funds, Experts Say

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The hackers behind Coincheck’s massive NEM heist have successfully offloaded 40% of the stolen funds, according to new research by Tokyo-based consultancy group L Plus. The successful money laundering campaign highlights the ongoing challenges authorities face in bringing cyber criminals to justice.

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Hackers Launder NEM

Analysts at L Plus believe that roughly 200 million NEM tokens, worth $79 million, have already been laundered through the dark web. However, the hackers likely pocketed a much smaller amount amid ongoing efforts to blacklist the tokens.

Nikkei Asian Review reported Monday that Coincheck was targeted with “suspicious traffic” for weeks leading up to the Jan. 26 heist. Citing a person close to the investigation, Nikkei said the attackers hacked an employee email and stole a private key needed to transfer the NEM tokens to the desired accounts. L Plus indicated that the attacker must have repeatedly accessed the Coincheck server to obtain the private key.

When the hack took place, the stolen NEM tokens were worth more than $400 million. Today, they are worth less than half that amount. The identity of the attackers remains unknown to this day. However, authorities have speculated that North Korea may have been responsible for the attack.

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Coincheck plans to resume operations this week following a government-mandated freeze on all trading activity.

Japan Boosts Oversight

The attack has prompted Japan’s financial regulators to step up their oversight efforts of the cryptocurrency market. Last week, regulators penalized seven exchanges after deeming their internal controls insufficient to deal with a cyber attack.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) slapped two exchanges – FSHO and Bit Station – with month-long suspensions. The remaining five exchanges – Bicrements, Coincheck, GMO Coin, Mr. Exchange and Tech Bureau – were given business improvement orders.

The FSA began conducting on-site inspections in late January following the Coincheck attack. Regulators have uncovered several issues, including a lack of customer protection measures and insufficient anti-money laundering controls.

Japan remains one of the most welcoming jurisdictions for cryptocurrency trading, but repeated attacks may prompt regulators to reconsider their relatively lax approach. Digital currency exchanges in Japan and elsewhere face a growing threat from cyber criminals looking to capitalize on the rising value of digital assets.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 418 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Breaches

Skepticism Grows Over BitGrail’s Supposed $167 Million Hack

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A relatively unknown cryptocurrency exchange by the name of BitGrail has informed its users of a coordinated cyber attack targeting Nano (XRB) tokens. However, the incident does not appear to be holding up to scrutiny after the founder of the exchange made an odd request to the developers of Nano shortly after discovering the alleged theft.

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BitGrail Exchange Allegedly Compromised

The Italian exchange issued a notice to its clients last week informing them that 17 million XRB tokens were compromised in a cyber attack. The XRB token, formerly known known as Raiblocks, is valued at $9.80 at the time of writing for a total market cap of $1.3 billion. That puts the total monetary loss of the supposed heist at nearly $167 million.

Parts of the notice have been translated into English from the original Italian by Tech Crunch, a media company dedicated to startups and technology news. According to the agency,  BitGrail has stated the following:

“… Internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall, an amount forming part of the wallet managed by BitGrail… Today a charge about those fraudulent activities has been submitted to the competent authorities and now is under police investigation.”

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The notice indicated that all transactions have been put on hold until authorities complete their investigation.

Very little is known about BitGrail, as it is not listed among the 183 exchanges whose volume is ranked by CoinMarketCap.

Suspicion Grows

Unlike other crypto heists, the circumstances surrounding the alleged BitGrail attack have been met with widespread suspicion. As David Z. Morris of Fortune rightly notes, this isn’t the first time BitGrail has suspended Nano withdrawals. The same thing happened in early January when the exchange halted not only Nano, but Lisk and CryptoForecast transactions as well.

The suspension was followed by an announcement that the exchange was taking measured steps to verify users and enforce anti-money laundering requirements. It was around this time that users became suspicious that BitGrail was going to cut and run with their tokens.

BitGrail founder Francesco Firano made an unusual request to the developers of Nano following the alleged attack: he asked them to fork their record, a move that would essentially restore the stolen funds.

Nano officially rejected the request on Friday, the day after Firano supposedly discovered the stolen coins. In a post that appeared on the Nano Medium page, the team said:

“We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.”

Last month, hackers made off with more than $400 million worth of NEM tokens stolen from Coincheck, a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange. The coins have yet to be recovered and the perpetrators remain at large. In 2014, a cyber heist brought down Mt Gox, which was the world’s largest exchange.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 418 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Breaches

Coincheck Hackers Are Trying to Sell Their Stolen NEM Coins

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hacker extortion bitcoin

The hackers behind the biggest crypto heist of all time are attempting to sell their stolen coins, according to an executive at the NEM Foundation. The revelations are the latest in a four-day saga that has authorities still struggling to identify perpetrators or locate the account in receipt of the stolen funds.

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Hackers Try to Profit

Jeff McDonald, Vice President of the NEM Foundation, said Tuesday that his organization had traced stolen XEM coins to an unidentified address. It was here that the thief tried to unload the stolen funds onto six online exchanges for the purpose of selling them. McDonald said the exchanges have since been notified.

It was not immediately apparent how many of the stolen coins were spent or even the whereabouts of the account. A spokeswoman at the NEM Foundation later said the attacker sent the cryptocurrency to several random accounts in 100-token increments.

Last Friday, the attackers made off with more than $400 million worth of NEM tokens from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The monetary value of the heist has fluctuated several times over the past four days, reflecting regular price moves in NEM’s native XEM token. However, Coincheck said it would reimburse account holders at a rate of 81 U.S. cents per token, which reflects the average price between Jan. 26 and 27.

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Coincheck has been fined administrative penalties for failing to secure client funds. It was later revealed by the executive management team that the exchange failed to implement basic security features, such as multi-signature capability and cold storage. Rather, the XEM tokens were held in accounts connected to the internet.

Although the NEM Foundation is trying to prevent the liquidation of stolen funds, MacDonald said the attackers will likely get away with some of the money. However, the likelihood that they spend all of it is virtually zero given the market’s underlying liquidity constraints.

NEM Price Volatility

News of the heist on Friday triggered significant volatility in the price of XEM and the broader cryptocurrency market. Following a brief recovery, XEM has declined steadily over the past three days, with prices reaching new six-week lows on Tuesday. The coin touched a session low of 79 cents on volumes of more than $32 million. At press time, the coin was worth a little more than 80 cents.

Even with the decline, NEM held on to tenth spot in the global cryptocurrency rankings based on market cap. The coin’s overall value remains well north of $7 billion, according to CCN.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 418 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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