The hackers who last month attacked the Ashley Madison website have today released the names, email addresses, phone numbers and partial credit card numbers of 37 million users of the infidelity site.
Thousands of government and military officials from both sides of the Atlantic appear to have been exposed in the data dump, with email addresses linked to the White House, NASA, the Vatican and the United Nations, as well as the UK email addresses of local and national government employees – including at least one senior civil servant.
The hackers dropped a 10Gb file of information about users of the adultery dating website, and while the majority of the email addresses used were from personal Hotmail or Gmail accounts, many used work-linked email accounts.
And things took another turn yesterday when the hackers dumped a second lot of data online to prove just how deep they dug into the Ashley Madison data.
The second data dump contained a large amount of email addresses linked to Noel Biderman – the CEO of Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company – as well as a personal message mocking him: “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now.”
This is by no mean an isolated incident though, and there have already been at least five high profile and far-reaching cyber attacks that have taken place this year.
The top 5 hacks of 2015
80,000 people were affected in February when customer details were stolen from Anthem, the second largest health insurer in the US.
3.9 million people had sensitive information – including name, email addresses and sexual preferences – compromised following a hack into the Adult Friend Finder dating website in May.
10 million users of the Twitch gaming platform were asked to change their passwords following a hack in March. It’s unclear how many users were actually affected though.
21.5 million US military and intelligence personnel saw their details stolen during a hack on US Office of Personnel Management in July. This included information needed for security clearances, such as eye colour, relative’s contact details and evidence of past substance abuse.
37 million people are thought to have been affected by last month’s attack on the adultery website.