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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.

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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

Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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Ethereum Prices on Track for 35% Monthly Drop

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It has been a difficult month for ethereum. The world’s No. 2 digital currency has lost a third of its value over the past 30 days following a series of cyber breaches targeting vulnerable wallets and ICOs.

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Ethereum Struggles to Regain Momentum

Ethereum (ETH/USD) was trading near $197.00 Sunday at 6:30 BST, according to Bitfinex. That represents a decline of around 5%. At current values, ethereum’s market cap was $18.4 billion.

The ETH/USD exchange rate has struggled throughout July, with prices briefly falling below $160.00. The decline, which amounted to a 60-day low, lured bargain-hunters back into the market. After surging back toward $250.00, the ETH/USD has consolidated below the $220-mark, which continues to offer strong resistance. On the opposite side of the spectrum, major support is located at $180.00.

A price recovery may prove elusive in the short-term, with the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic indicator signalling weak underlying momentum.

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Despite its recent decline, ethereum’s value has surged more than 2,200% this year.

Cyber Attacks, SEC Weigh on Market

The ethereum network suffered a large-scale cyber breach earlier this month resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. A community of ethical hackers quickly banded together to “rescue” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tokens.

Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also hijacked during an initial coin offering (ICO). The breach exposed Coindash’s ether wallet address, resulting in the loss of $7 million worth of ether.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also taken an interest in the ethereum-based ICO market. Last week, the regulator concluded that a certain multi-million dollar token sale last year violated securities law. Although ICOs have been compared to crowd-sourcing, the SEC maintained that some tokens were in fact securities.

Analysts say the SEC ruling could impact the future of ICOs, although it remains unclear how the regulator is pursuing this market. The SEC’s July 25 press release cautions investors about ICOs in general.

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