FBI probing data breach, says Ashley Madison owner
THE Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating last month's data breach of cheating spouses website AshleyMadison.com, the website's owner said on Tuesday, as it lashed out at the hackers for hurting what it said were "innocent" citizens.
It was the first time Avid Life Media (ALM) confirmed the FBI had joined the investigation. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Toronto Police Services are also involved, it said.
Hours earlier, the hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, released a huge cache of data containing customer information - including millions of payment transactions, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of people who were registered on the dating site - on the Internet.
The release comes about a month after the data was stolen by the hackers, who allegedly tried to shut the site for cheaters down "immediately permanently". The group threatened to release customer records, nude pictures and conversations if the site was not closed.
The hacker team appeared to follow through on its threat with a 9.7GB dump, tech magazine Wired reported.
"We have explained the fraud, deceit and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data," the group reportedly wrote in its data dump on Tuesday.
"I'm looking for someone who isn't happy at home, or just bored and looking for some excitement," said one user in the data, Wired reported, while noting that some 15,000 users in the data included government or military e-mail addresses.
ALM, based in Toronto, condemned the initial hack, calling it a "criminal intrusion". The company spoke out again on Tuesday, saying the release of data was an illegal action against the members of the website, Wired reported.
The website is banned in Singapore.