Affair-promoting website hacked, users information may be made public

Ashley Madison's Korean web site is shown on a computer screen in Seoul, South Korea. Avid Life Media Inc., the parent company of Ashley Madison, a matchmaking website for cheating spouses, said it was hacked and that the personal information of some of its users was posted online. AP Photo

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – “Life is short. Have an affair.” That’s the slogan proudly proclaimed in ads by AshleyMadison.com. But users of the site may be sent running for their lives if hackers have their way.

Hackers claimed to have compromised the personal information of the website’s 37 million users. “Welcome to your worst (expletive) nightmare,” it says. “Close down your site, or else,” hackers posted to AshleyMadison.com.

Writer Brian Krebs broke the story on his security blog and says the hackers contacted him initially. He says the personal information from accounts of several thousand individuals was visible online for more than an hour and a half. “This was someone who had an axes to grind against the company,” Krebs says. “Probably a former employee.”

The information of the 37 million users is now in limbo. Family law attorney Regina Hunter says she sees divorce cases spring up from social media every day. The sources are commonly from Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, in addition to sites such as Ashley Madison and Adult Friend Finder. “A lot of it is, ‘It wasn’t me.’ People who are not ready to be divorced might not believe it was their spouse,” Hunter says.

Ashley Madison promotes affairs on billboards, web ads and commercials. “We have been able to secure our sites and close the unauthorized access points,” a statement on the site said Monday.

Even though the fate of the information of millions of users remains in limbo, Hunter offers this advice, “Many times these parties don’t want to get divorced. They don’t want to cheat on their spouse … But they have an addiction or something else going on in the background that needs to be addressed.”

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