Update: Data From The Ashley Madison Hack Has Been Released Online

Photo: Courtesy AshleyMadison.
UPDATE: The Impact Team has followed through with their threats and released the data from last month's hack — information from 32 million Ashley Madison accounts are now online.

This article was originally published on July 20, 2015.

Bad news for seekers of adulterous liaisons: Cheating site Ashley Madison got hacked last week, exposing the private information of its 37 million members.

A group calling themselves "The Impact Team" reportedly conducted the hack, which stole information from Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison and a couple of other hookup destinations (Cougar Life and Established Men). The group primarily stole data such as employee network account and salary information, plus company bank account details.

Perhaps most damning (and most interesting) about the leak: The Impact Team members decided to expose their own breach because they realized Ashley Madison's $20 a pop "full delete" feature is a scam. The cheating site promises to delete all your details from its servers, but in reality, users' purchase information — such as names and addresses — is never fully removed. Thus, proof of your maybe one-time indiscretion could linger long after it took place, even though you think all the evidence has been deleted.

In a manifesto, the group wrote, "a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people." Yikes. Unless Ashley Madison is permanently taken offline, The Impact Team says it will reveal 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."

This hack comes just a few short months after hackers leaked user information from hookup site Adult Friend Finder.

Avid Life Media has released a statement about the attack, and CEO Noel Biderman told KrebsOnSecurity that the company has identified the culprit behind it: someone who had worked on Avid Life Media's servers in the past (likely a contractor), but was not a full employee.

If The Impact Team carries through with its threats, certain spouses will have some serious explaining to do.
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