Ashley Madison Puts $500,000 Bounty on Hackers as Extortion and Suicides Occur

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An international barrage of police and high-profile government agencies are working vigorously around the clock the identify the hackers behind the catastrophic Ashley Madison breach, the dating site for cheaters, while the company behind the site is offering up a $500,000 CAD (roughyl $376,000 USD) reward for anyone with information pointing towards the hackers identity.

The blunt acceleration comes amid reports that at least two people whom were found in the Ashley Madison database have commit suicide since hackers leaked the sites information, which carries the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair.” It’s to early to conclude if the individuals who took their lives was in response to the data leak, but nevertheless, the deaths were discussed during a press conference held early Monday morning by the Toronto Police Service. Bryce Evans, acting staff superintendent, said the reveal of so many people in committed relationships cheating on their partners crossed the line and carries the potential to destroy the lives and careers of millions.

Evans called upon hackers across the world to help identify the perpetrators, asking individuals to provide any information to law enforcement regarding the identity of those who hacked Ashley Madison as well as taking over their parent company, Avid Life Media. He also said the investigation was being carried out by a number of agencies including his department, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, among others. A Homeland security official said the agency investigates matters potentially involving the extortion of federal employees. It was revealed last week that leaked data exposed that hundreds of federal workers used their Internet connection within their federal offices to pay for the website membership. In addition, Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 Canadian Dollar (roughly $376,000) reward for information leading the arrest of the individuals responsible for the hack who are currently operating under their online alias, The Impact Team.

“This is your wake-up call,” Evans said, addressing The Impact Team members directly. “We are now doing a serious investigation and inviting all our partners.”

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Evans said he is speaking to fellow hackers across the globe, reaching out to see if someone may have information that was included in the more than 50 gigabytes of data that has become apart of the Internet now. Evans crowd-source attempt is a potentially savvy move, as hackers have not only the skill set but mindset that police investigators lack in identifying cybercrime.

Evans also provided additional information that has yet to be widely known until know. One comment he made was that Ashley Madison’s first indication of compromise came on the morning of July 12, when several Ashley Madison employees opened their computers to hear the blaring music of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” song. According to a DailyMail report, the same song played on the computers of an Iranian nuclear facility who had been hacked in 2012. Messages displayed on Avid Life Media staffers computers informed the company of their critical breach, threatening to release the email addresses, credit card information, and other subscriber information, which hackers claim is more than 300GB, unless Avid Life Media officials permanently pull the plug in the Ashley Madison website. Two months later, Ashley Madison didn’t meet hackers demands and The Impact Team released the information on more than 33M Ashley Madison account holders, which occurred only last Tuesday.

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In the July 12 message, The Impact Team ordered the company to shutdown Established Men, another Avid Life Media-owned website which is a dating site for wealthy men and individuals seeking to meet them. Thus far, no reports of other Avid Life Media-owned websites information being leaked online has surfaced. However, it wouldn’t be shocking if the information on all the sites the company owned were soon to be leaked.

About Author

Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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