Online dating website Ashley Madison hacked; 37 mn personal records stolen

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Washington, July 21: Ashley Madison, an adultery website that encourages married couples to indulge in secret affairs, was on Monday, July 20 hacked.

'"Life is short. Have an affair" is the tagline of the website.

ashley madison

According to news reports, hackers stole 37 million personal records from the site and threatened to release them if the website does not shut down "permanently in all forms."

Data security analyst Brian Krebs, first reported that the site has been hacked by a group called, "The Impact Team".

The site AshleyMadison is owned by Avid Life Media (ALM), the Toronto-based firm.

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The hackers dared to release, "profiles with all the customers, 'secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails."

In its official statement, ALM was quoted saying as, "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."

It also said that it has hired "one of the world's top IT security teams" to work on the "criminal intrusion".

The site has over 37 million users, who are seeking extramarital affairs.

According to Bloomberg, "AshleyMadison claims to be the world's second-largest paid-for Internet dating site after Match.com."

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Here is the Full text of AshleyMadison's statement:

"We were recently made aware of an attempt by an unauthorized party to gain access to our systems. We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers' information. We have always had the confidentiality of our customers' information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world.

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. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber-terrorism will be held responsible. Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), our team has now successfully removed the posts related to this incident as well as all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about our users published online.

Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the "paid-delete" option offered by AshleyMadison.com does in fact remove all information related to a member's profile and communications activity. The process involves a hard-delete of a requesting user's profile, including the removal of posted pictures and all messages sent to other system users' email boxes. This option was developed due to specific member requests for just such a service, and designed based on their feedback.

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."

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