How Far Will the Damage from the Ashley Madison Hack Go?

ashlymdsn2People all over the world are reeling over the release of private data from millions of users who used an extramarital cheating site, Ashley Madison. A hacker — or it might have been an inside job — leaked 37 million accounts as a torrent file to the Dark Web, a semi-anonymized corner of the Internet where it is difficult for law enforcement to intervene.  Of those accounts, about two-thirds are considered legitimate and the rest are fake profiles. The information includes email addresses, usernames, names and addresses if a credit card was used, and even sexual preferences.

The hacker, who goes by the name Impact Team, next released all the personal emails from the CEO, Noel Biderman, and says private chats between users and non-risque photos may be next. After evidence of 11 extramarital affairs, including four escorts, came out in Biderman’s emails, he resigned. Ironically, his wife was the model for billboards advertising the company. Biderman had previously denied that he had ever cheated on his wife. 

Some of the users will probably never be discovered, if they did not use a credit card tied to their name, or a traceable login name and email address. While the data is mostly only accessible on the Dark Web, which takes some technical knowledge to access, someone may very likely put it on the regular Internet where it may become searchable in Google. So far, Ashley Madison is threatening DMCA violations against sites on the regular Internet that attempt to post the data. One site that hasn’t been shut down allows anyone to search for a particular email address, and will indicate whether or not it was found in the Ashley Madison data dump. Law enforcement is trying to track down the hacker, but the cat is already out of the bag.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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