Avid Life Media Inc., the parent company of an online dating website Ashley Madison released a statement saying that they “were recently made aware of an attempt by an unauthorized party to gain access to our systems.”
The Impact Team claimed to be behind the cyber-attack and that they now have data on Ashley Madison’s 40 million users’ database and its partner sites including Cougar Life and Established Men. Hacking the Ashley Madison website is more detrimental to its users than a regular dating site due the sensitivity of the information.
The site is summed up in the company tagline, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Ashley Madison is an online dating site that caters to married people interested in having an affair. The personal information that was obtained by hackers includes members’ email addresses, usernames, passwords, birthdays, zip codes, credit cards and perhaps the scariest, their fantasies.
“As our customers’ privacy is of the utmost concern to us, we are now offering our full-delete option free to any member, in light of today’s news”.
The hacking group stated that the Avid Life Media’ full deletion feature is a “complete lie” because in reality members can’t completely delete their profiles.
“Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
“At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points,” the company said. “We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber–terrorism will be held responsible.”
The Ashley Madison hack has been referred to as cyber-terrorism. This form of cyber-terrorism seems to be personal. The hacking group is demanding both Ashley Madison and Established Men to be taken down or they will expose the clientele’s personal and financial information to the public.
Avid Life Media is a Toronto based company founded by Noel Biderman in 2002. In 2007, Avid Life Media acquired AshleyMadison.com and Noel was appointed President and CEO. He once said in an interview, “Cheating is like the secret glue that keeps millions of marriages together. I would cheat before I would leave.”