Ashley Madison, a popular website used by people looking to have extramarital affairs, has been the target of a huge hack this weekend. The hack, first reported by KrebsOnSecurity, has been claimed by a group of hackers, calling itself "The Impact Team."
The group is threatening to expose millions of users of AshleyMadison, unless their demands are met.
The group claims to have invaded the databases of Avid Life Media (ALM), the company that owns AshleyMadison, gaining access to everything from user profiles and financial records to ALM salary information.
The group has already begun posting users’ personal data online, which could be quite damaging to some 37 million users of the hookup service.
According to Krebs, the group of hackers, posted a manifesto alongside the leaked information. The manifesto said that it decided to publish the leaked data in response to alleged lies Avid Life Media told its customers about a $19 fee for completely erasing their profiles.
The hacking group wrote:
"Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie. 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.”
The hacking group have demanded that ALM take down AshleyMadison and the company's other dating site, Established Men permanently, or else they would release customer records and profiles, including real names and 'customers' secret sexual fantasies."
"Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion. Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver ... 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," the hackers wrote.
ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman has confirmed the hack, and said the company was working intently to remove all its data.
The hack into AshleyMadison was not quite unexpected.
In the wake of the AdultFriendFinder breach, many predicted that AshleyMadison will be the next target. As the Wall Street Journal noted in a May 2015 brief titled “Risky Business for AshleyMadison.com,” the company had voiced plans for an initial public offering in London later this year with the hope of raising as much as $200 million. But, it pointed out that investors will have to think of hack attacks as a risk factor.