Confidential customer information was stolen from Canada’s AshleyMadison.com, a dating site for affairs.
Some of the private data was published online. The hackers threatened to release it all unless the Toronto-based website shut down.
Avid Life Media, owner of AshleyMadison.com, described the virtual assault as an “act of cyberterrorism.”
“We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information,” the company said in a statement. “We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place.”
The data stolen includes “all customer information databases, source code repositories, financial records, emails,” according to the Impact Team, the hacker group that took responsibility for the attack. That includes “profiles with all customers’ secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.”
The hackers seem to have an issue with Ashley Madison’s “Full Delete” feature, which promises to erase all data associated with an account for a fee of $19. The feature, which the hackers say earned the site nearly $2 million in revenue last year, is “a complete lie,” claiming the feature does not remove all information. Avid Life Media contests this.
Ashley Madison has 37 million members worldwide.