Ashley Madison, a dating website that caters to married people, has been hacked.
The website, which goes by the tagline, “Life is short, have an affair,” said that it had been hacked Monday and that some of its user data are stolen.
Essentially a dating website, it caters to married people who are looking to have an affair. The website boasts having 37 million registered members.
The hackers – identifying themselves as the Impact Team – threatened that they will release information of the users if the website isn’t taken down. The information they threaten to release includes “profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.”
The hack was first reported by Brian Krebs.
Ashley Madison is owned by the parent company Avid Life Media.
In a statement, Avid Life Media said, “At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points. We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act,” as reported by CNN.
The issue the hackers have appears to be with the website’s “full delete service,” which wipes out all of the customers’ information and data at a charge of $19.
“The ‘paid-delete’ option removes all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity,” Ashley Madison said, as reported by BBC.
However, the hackers said that the service is a “complete lie” because they claim certain user information is retained by the website even after customers had paid for the service.
“Full Delete netted [Avid Life Media] $1.7 million in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the hackers said. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real names and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
Ashley Madison announced that it will let people delete their profiles for free.
Avid Life Media further said in its statement, “We apologise for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information. We have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorised access points. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber-terrorism will be held responsible.”
In March, dating website Adult FriendFinder was hacked, which led to more than 3.5 million people’s personal information – including their sexual preferences and fetishes, among others – being released.
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