“Things with my husband improved and I haven’t logged in to the website in years. Now I feel sick to my stomach that my past could come back to haunt me”.
Those were the words of a British woman identified as Natalie. She is a member of an adultery website, Ashley Madison. the site, which has about 37 million users worldwide, allows married people to cheat on their partners, with the promise of complete anonymity.
It’s motto is: ‘Life is short. Have an affair.’
Yes, life is short but it may even get shorter for the site’s users as their secrets are about to be exposed by hackers who have stolen and threatening to publish names, credit card details and “secret sexual fantasies” of all members!
Natalie, like other users, is now scared her husband will discover her infidelity.
She said that she started using the site when she had problems in her marriage, but has not logged since 2011.
The group of hackers call themselves the “Impact Team”. They believe the website wrecks marriages and have told owners they will start publishing intimate details about users unless the site is shut down.
To show that they mean the threat, they have exposed two men – one American and one Canadian – publishing their first name, address and sexual preferences.
They have hacked two similar websites – Cougar Life, a website for older women who want to date young men, and Established Men, which helps ‘successful’ men meet ‘young and beautiful women’.
The hackers want Established Men and Ashley Madison, taken offline but did not make the same request of Cougar Life, suggesting they are more interested in exposing unfaithful men.
Canadian owners, Avid Life Media, have reported to the police and also believe a company insider may have helped hackers grab the information.
CEO Noel Biderman, who set up the website with his wife Amanda, believes that a hacker with ties to the site’s technical services is the culprit behind the privacy breach.
“I’ve got their profile right in front of me, all their work credentials. It was definitely a person here that was not an employee but certainly had touched our technical services,’ he told Krebs On Security.
Experts have warned the stolen data could be sold on to criminal gangs or used to blackmail members.