Suicidal and Waiting By The Letterbox For Ashley Madison Members

How Did It Happen?

Back in July this year the dating website for married people famed for having a tagline 'Life is short, have an affair' was hacked. The result was the theft of the data of 33 million members. This data was then reportedly put on the ‘dark web’ where it could be accessed by encrypted browsers, and therefore by cyber criminals seeking to use the potentially embarrassing and damaging data for extortion.

Various reports indicate that anywhere from 1% to 14% of members of the website are women, and therefore the bulk of fear over this latest development is likely to be among men who have signed up to site at any point.

Lawsuits, Emails and Now Snail Mail

Within 48 hours of the reports of the security breach going public,  dozens of Canadian citizens (where a very large number of Ashley Madison members are based) contacted legal firms with a view to filing lawsuits against Ashley Madison. Early casualties of public exposure included U.S. reality TV star and ironically former executive director of the anti-abortion and pro-marriage group Family Research Council Josh Duggar, who resigned from the post and publicly confessed his infidelity.

Two suicides in Canada have also been linked to the leak.

After a round of emails designed to extort money which can of course be deleted or hidden from family members, the latest move by cyber criminals takes things to the next level as blackmail letters are reported to be arriving through the doors of some unlucky ex members.


The letters are reported to be asking for sums around the £3,000 mark in order for the receiver to avoid their membership of the website being made known to their loved ones. How this will be done is unclear, but the high stakes and fear levels could well result in the criminals making some money.

Advice

The advice from Security expert blogger Graham Cluley recently reported by the BBC and The Register is for recipients of the blackmail letters to ignore the demands and to share the letter with the authorities. Paying the blackmailer will not guarantee that there will be no more demands, and may even make them more likely to make them focus on you.