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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.

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.

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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Altcoins

Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

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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Breaches

MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 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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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively 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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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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