Avid Life Media offers $500 ,000 bounty for information on the Impact Team hackers
The theft of users’ data from the adultery website Ashley Madison has now led to two possible suicides and numerous online scam attempts and extortion threats,as Toronto Police says. It is also seen that criminals have set up fake websites that purport to find out user’s data has been leaked, but actually,all are aimed to make money and spread malware.
The problem emerged on July 12, when employees of the Toronto-based company arrived at work, powered up their computers and were greeted with heavy metal music and a threatening message from the hackers, who call themselves “the Impact Team.”
The message asked Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media Inc., to shut down two of its dating websites, AshleyMadison.com and EstablishedMen.com.
Staff Supt. Evans said the message was accompanied by the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
Three days afterward, the hackers confirmed the breach by sending personal information of two Ashley Madison users, one in Mississauga, Ont., and one in Massachusetts.
Avid Life Media has confirmed it is co-operating with investigations conducted by the Toronto Police Services, the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and the FBI.
According to Ohio-based security firm TrustedSec, the stolen data was released in three separate batches between August 19 and 21 and appeared to be legitimate.
One set of data included about 33 million usernames, names, passwords, addresses and other details. A separate leak, released with the message, “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now,” contained thousands of e-mails from the account of Avid CEO Noel Biderman.
“This is a massive data breach where attackers had full and maintained access to a large percentage of Ashley Madison’s organization undetected for a long period of time,” TrustedSec CEO Dave Kennedy said in a blog post.
Four days ago, two Canadian law firms, Toronto-based Charney Lawyers and Windsor-based Sutts, Strosberg LLP launched a class-action suit on behalf of Ashley Madison customers.
The class action is not directed at the hackers but was brought against Avid Dating Life Inc. and Avid Life Media Inc., the corporations running Ashley Madison, which the lawsuit criticizes for failing to protect the users’ information.
Now AshleyMadison.com,is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual or group of people responsible for leaking highly personal information on the company’s more than 30 million users.
The bounty offer came at a press conference today by the police in Toronto — where Ashley Madison is based. At the televised and Webcast news conference, Toronto Police Staff Superintendent Bryce Evans recounted the key events in “Project Unicorn,” the code name law enforcement officials have assigned to the investigation into the attack. In relaying news of the reward offer, Evans appealed to the public and “white hat” hackers for help in bringing the attackers to justice.