The damaging circumstances surrounding the breached online cheating website AshleyMadison.com continues to intensify.
According to Brian Krebs — the security blogger who first noted the breach — leaked emails from the company’s CEO suggest that Ashley Madison’s top leadership was involved with the hacking of a competing online dating service back in 2012.
The hackers claiming responsibility for the Ashley Madison data breach, a group known as the Impact Team, released a 30-gigabyte archive that it said to include emails from Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman late last week.
Within the leaked archive were messages between Biderman and the company’s founding Chief Technology Officer Raja Bhatia. In the emails, Bhatia claims to have discovered a security hole in the database of nerve.com, an online magazine that experimented with an adult dating section in late 2012.
In an email sent on Nov. 30, 2012, Bhatia told Biderman: “They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base. Also, I can turn any non paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.”
Neither Bhatia nor Biderman could be reached by Krebs for comment.
But the news surrounding the breach seems to keep getting worse, as the Impact Team continues its attempt to capitalize off the desperation of Ashley Madison users hoping to keep their identities under wraps.
Toronto police held a press conference Monday (Aug. 24) warning of the damaging ripple effects of scams and extortion after at least two people are believed to have committed suicide following the Ashley Madison hacking, Reuters reported.
A report from CoinDesk late last week showed those who had their personal data hacked could have it back — but it’s going to cost them in bitcoin.
Here is the message the hackers are allegedly sending to those who were hacked:
“Unfortunately your data was leaked in the recent hacking of Ashley Madison and I now have your information,” the message stated. “If you would like to prevent me from finding and sharing this information with your significant other send exactly 2.00000054 bitcoins (approx. value $450 USD) to the following address…”
“If you are already divorced then I suggest you think about how this information may impact any ongoing court proceedings,” the email continued. “If you are no longer in a committed relationship then think about how this will affect your social standing amongst family and friends.”
Both Ashley Madison and the Toronto police are imploring those with information that can help the investigation to come forward.
“To the hacking community who engage in discussions on the Dark Web and who no doubt have information that could assist this investigation, we’re also appealing to you to do the right thing,” Evans said. “You know the Impact Team has crossed the line. Do the right thing and reach out to us.”