Police say Ashley Madison Revelations Will Cause a Global, Long-term Fallout


Canadian officials are bracing for long-term fallout from the unauthorized release of user data from the adultery website Ashley Madison, they said at a news conference on Monday.

Bryce Evans, the acting staff superintendent of the Toronto Police Service, detailed the investigation into hackers’ attack last week on Canada-based Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison and Established Men, a website for wealthy men looking to date young women.

Mr. Evans characterized the hack, carried out by a group that calls itself the Impact Team, as “one of the largest data breaches in the world.” The 9.7 gigabytes of information released by the hackers included credit card information, names, billing details and home addresses. Mr. Evans said the hacking had already resulted in spinoff crimes, including attempts to extort Ashley Madison users whose identities had been leaked.

(1of2 tweets) Slides presented to media at Toronto Police press conference Aug24 on#AshleyMadisonHack #AMcaseTPS ^sm pic.twitter.com/vb3hQFbMtX

— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) Aug. 24, 2015

“If you would like to prevent me from sharing this dirt with all of your known friends and family (and perhaps even your employers too?) then you need to send exactly 1.05 bitcoins to the following address,” read one of the threats, asking for about $230.

Mr. Evans also said that the police have received two unconfirmed reports of suicides related to the data breach. Security experts had warned the revelations contained in the breach could lead to suicide and violence.

“Others might find the thought that their membership of the site — even if they never met anyone in real life, and never had an affair — too much to bear,” Graham Cluley wrote on his security blog last week, “and there could be genuine casualties as a result. And yes, I mean suicide.”

The warning contrasted with how casually the hackers characterized the breach: “Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it,” the group wrote in one general, public warning to those it might have exposed.

Soon after the hack, journalists worked to expose the activity of people who may have used the service.

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The New York Times

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