A spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed Monday the administration is looking into reports that a half-dozen state government email accounts have shown up in hackers’ public data dumps from the Ashley Madison website. Toronto Police acting staff Superintendent Bryce Evans said the hack is having an “enormous social and economic fallout”. Seeing as Ashley Madison’s servers (and all the data on them) are compomised, though, it’s not very reassuring in this case.
The hackers who took responsibility for Ashley Madison’s data breach have said they attacked the website in an effort to close it down as punishment for collecting a $19 fee without actually deleting users’ data.
At least eight Ashley Madison clients are now suing the company, claiming negligence, breach of contract and privacy violations. It says that the release of customer information “can only be described as a nightmare” for users of the site, and that the revelation of personal and financial information “is bound to have catastrophic effects on the lives of the website’s users”.
In a report by BBC, the police gave no further details on the investigation.
As for the impact that the hack has had on the Ashley Madison site, that’s hard to determine.
Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison and its sister site, Established Men, is offering a reward of $500,000 Canadian dollars (US $380,000) to anyone who can provide concrete information on the hackers that would lead to their arrest.
Some of those listed as customers are now being threatened with exposure unless payment is received, Evans said.
Evans addressed the Impact Team directly, saying their actions are “illegal and will not be tolerated”.
Companies that suffer a hack are increasingly facing liability for their cybersecurity shortcomings, not only from breach victims but also from the Federal Trade Commission.
The hackers, who called themselves the Impact Team, were able to steal the data of the site’s 33 million members.
Evans said those responsible for the cyberattack need to know their actions are under intense scrutiny by law enforcement partners around the world, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. It reveals that a former company executive hacked another dating website, exfiltrating their entire user database.