SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The company that owns the website for cheating spouses, AshleyMadison.com, confirmed on Wednesday that data from its website has been leaked and published online.
Hackers published a massive list of clients, along with email addresses and credit card information, after the site’s parent company, Avid Life Media, Inc. refused to bow to their demands and close the site.
The hackers, calling themselves The Impact Team, threatened to release the private data on 30 million users at AshleyMadison.com, last July. Tuesday, it delivered on its promise and published a message saying “Time’s Up!”
The breach has set off an online frenzy of people checking for famous names. According to Future Tense, the email address of former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair is in the 35 GB dump. CSO counted more than 15,000 email addresses ending in .gov and .mil.
it’s definitely real, I made an account on AM once when I was covering online dating stuff for gizmodo and my email is in there
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) August 19, 2015
Toronto-based Avid Life Media issued a statement Tuesday vowing to investigate the breach.
“The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner,” the company said.
AshleyMadison’s treatment of infidelity was often playful and irreverent. Its slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
Last year the website ranked San Francisco fifth on the list of ‘Top Cities for Mistresses‘ and named it “the city with the youngest mistresses.” Los Angeles topped the list of “cities where wearing a wedding ring will get you laid.”
The hackers also demanded the shutdown of Established Men, another site owned by Avid Life Media. It pairs older men with young women.
In its statement released with the data, the hackers wrote, “We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data. Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles.”
In its statement, Avid Life Media Inc. characterized its users as “freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities.”
“We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world. We are continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement to seek to hold the guilty parties accountable to the strictest measures of the law.”
The company asks anyone with information leading to the identification and arrest of the hackers to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.