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Ashley Madison Hackers Follow Through with Threats, Release Sensitive info for Millions of Users Online

Unfortunately for millions of married Americans, the hacker group that calls itself The Impact Team has followed through with prior threats and outed many who have, or have attempted to have, affairs or cheat on their significant others.

As LifeLock previously reported, the website AshleyMadison.com - a sort of matchmaking website specifically for people who want to cheat - was hacked in a revenge plot against allegedly false advertisements in mid-July.

Members of The Impact Team reportedly stole sensitive, personal information on some 37 million users in the mass data breach last month, and posted a sample of the information online along with a long manifesto that indicated they would continue to release more information if parent company Avid Life Media did not permanently shut down the site and one of its sister sites, Established Men.

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The hackers claimed that the sites charged many users a $19 fee to have their information completely wiped from the system once they no longer wished to use its services. The hackers claimed even though they were told their information was wiped, it still remained on the company's servers and was too easily accessible.

"You promised secrecy, and you didn't deliver," Gizmodo.com quotes from the hackers' release.

As Avid Life Media refused to comply with the hackers' demands, the hackers released 10 gigabytes of sensitive information early this week and, according to Gizmodo.com, another 20 gigabytes on Thursday.

The information released includes member email addresses, credit card transactions, and even profile information, which can include highly personal information such as sexual preferences; drug, alcohol and tobacco use; and the types of people they are looking to have affairs with.

Disturbingly, several news outlets report that thousands of the email addresses released are ".gov" or ".mil," indicating they are federal government employees or members of the U.S. military - and, USA Today reports that it found at least three "Vatican.com" email addresses in the dumped data, as well as a number of British government emails. USA Today also reports that thousands of Fortune 500 company email accounts were also spotted, such as from Apple, Microsoft and Bank of America.

At least two different search tools have also been created by crafty techies that allow people to search to see whether certain email addresses were part of the data dump, the New York Times reports.

At least one celebrity has been very publicly outed in the data release so far — Josh Duggar, the scandalous son of the "19 Kids and Counting" TV family, which promotes family values and Christian morals. Duggar confirmed the reports in a statement he released Thursday.

USA Today reporters, who spoke with a number of cyber security professionals, caution that anyone who receives an email from someone who claims they can fix or protect leaked personal information related to the AshleyMadison.com hack should not open the email, as it is likely from a criminal and will download malware or a virus onto their device.

Those who think they may have been compromised in the data breaches should also keep a close eye on their finances, as credit card information was included in the released information, and cyber security professionals caution that it may not be difficult for motivated hackers to decrypt.

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Testimonial-Casey

"I would compare LifeLock to having that big older brother."- Casey S.

Testimonial-jamie

"All of my personal information, even my social security card, was taken".- Jamie A.


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