Two months ago, AdultFriendFinder was hacked, exposing fuck buddy friend-finding federal employees among its 3.5 million user 'exposure'. Today, as KrebsOnSecurity reports, large caches of data stolen from online cheating site AshleyMadison.com have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the company’s user databases, financial records and other proprietary information (including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies). The hacker group "The Impact Team" manifesto concludes, "too bad for those [37 million] men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion."
As KrebsOnSecurity reports, the still-unfolding leak could be quite damaging to some 37 million users of the hookup service, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
The data released by the hacker or hackers — which go by the name The Impact Team — includes sensitive internal data stolen from Avid Life Media (ALM), the Toronto-based firm that owns AshleyMadison as well as related hookup sites Cougar Life and Established Men.
Reached by KrebsOnSecurity late Sunday evening, ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman confirmed the hack, and said the company was “working diligently and feverishly” to take down ALM’s intellectual property. Indeed, in the short span of 30 minutes between that brief interview and the publication of this story, several of the Impact Team’s Web links were no longer responding.
“We’re not denying this happened,” Biderman said. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”
In a long manifesto posted alongside the stolen ALM data, The Impact Team said it decided to publish the information in response to alleged lies ALM told its customers about a service that allows members to completely erase their profile information for a $19 fee.
According to the hackers, although the “full delete” feature that Ashley Madison advertises promises “removal of site usage history and personally identifiable information from the site,” users’ purchase details — including real name and address — aren’t actually scrubbed.
“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the hacking group wrote. “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.”
Their demands continue:
“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”
“Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion,” the hackers continued. “Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver. We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. 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.”
As the Wall Street Journal noted in a May, 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.
“Given the breach at AdultFriendFinder, investors will have to think of hack attacks as a risk factor,” the WSJ wrote. “And given its business’s reliance on confidentiality, prospective AshleyMadison investors should hope it has sufficiently, er, girded its loins.”
So much for that IPO because that word, it definitely did not mean what the company's equity sponsors thought it means...
Finally, it is time to rotate out of the massively profitable 3x levered Belgian caterer ETF and dump it all in the 3x levered US divorce lawyer ETF which Larry Fink's Blackrock is furiously working on right now.