Ashley Madison hack exposes government employees

Ashley Madison users have been publicly exposed after hackers released over 10GB of data on Tuesday. The dating site, which was created especially for married people looking to have an affair, had over 10,000 government email addresses registered in its system.

Indeed, more than 15,000 of the email addresses used to register accounts were hosted on government and military servers.

Buried in the list are emails that could be tied to multiple administration agencies, including the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, as well as several tied to both the House and Senate, reports The Hill.

This is not surprising given that D.C. is believed to be most adulterous city in America, according to the Washington Post. The data contains extensive information that can be used to identity those who paid for the service.

The data released by the hackers includes names, addresses and phone numbers submitted by users of the site, though it’s unclear if members provided legitimate details. A sampling of the data indicates that users likely provided random numbers and addresses, but files containing credit card transactions will yield real names and addresses, unless members of the site used anonymous pre-paid cards, reports Wired.

As investigators, spouses, and the morbidly curious comb through the files, it would not be surprising if the names of prominent government officials and politicians are discovered. Sifting through fake profiles and sham emails is one of the only barriers.

It’s important to note that Ashley Madison’s sign-up process does not require verification of an email address to set up an account, so legitimate addresses might have been hijacked and used by some members of the site. One email in the data dump, for example, appears to belong to former UK Prime Minister (Tony Blair), via Wired.

So who orchestrated the hack? A group calling themselves the Impact Team has taken credit, according to The Daily Beast. Impact claims that Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison and another dating site called Established Men, charged users $19 to remove their information from the site, yet did not erase the data as promised.

Over the last month Avid Life Media chose to ignore threats by the hackers to take down the site – and divorce lawyers everywhere rejoiced.


[The Hill] [Washington Post] [Wired] [The Daily Beast] [Image courtesy Ashley Madison]