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The extramarital-affair online dating website Ashley Madison has been hacked, and the hacking group taking credit has threatened to release full details for the site's subscribers, which reportedly number more than 37 million across 46 countries, unless the service shuts down.
The breach is a reminder that hackers can potentially expose not only the information that people share, but also the identities of those with whom they've shared it.
"dox," the stolen data pertaining to customers unless Avid Life Media shuts down Ashley Madison and Established Men, although it issued no such demand for Cougar Life, or the company's or "The Big and the Beautiful" site.
"We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails," the manifesto reads.
See Also: Ransomware: The Look at Future Trends A hacking outfit billing itself as "The Impact Team" has threatened to release "all customer information databases, source code repositories, financial records, emails" tied to Ashley Madison.
The attackers are demanding that Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media shut down the dating site, as well as another one of its sites, called Established Men, according to information security blogger Brian Krebs, who broke the news of the hack.
"Companies such as these two, they completely rely on discretion," says Noa Bar-Yosef, a vice president at data exfiltration prevention firm en Silo.
3, 2011, states: "We treat data as an asset that must be protected against loss and unauthorized access.
"I believe that somebody who would want to go to that site, that's the basic building block," Bar-Yosef says. Now the minute that that trust is broken, the question [becomes] ...
do they have even a demand now for their existence, because their whole existence was built on that trust." Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media.
The company reports that its Ashley Madison site saw sales of 5 million in 2014.
Avid Life Media previously aborted a planned million IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2010.