Hackers breached the online adultery website Ashley Madison and threatened to expose data on users in an effort to shut down the service which claims millions of members worldwide.
Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, said in a statement Monday an “unauthorized party” was able to gain access to the data through various unauthorized points on the website.
A group calling itself “the Impact Team” claimed responsibility and said it was part of an effort to shut down Ashley Madison, known for its slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.”
The group, in statements posted online, said that Ashley Madison and a related site called Established Men “must shut down immediately permanently.”
“Shutting down AM and EM will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more,” the statement said.
“We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers’ sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses.”
Avid Life, which is based in Canada, said some personally identifiable information was posted online before being removed.Ashley Madison, which boasts more than 33 million users, helps people who are in relationships cheat on their partners. With its other dating services, Avid Life says it is Canada’s largest dot-com with some 40 million members.
It said it has “stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world.””These security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system,” Avid Life added.The incident is the latest in a series of high-profile data breaches affecting companies as well as government databases.