Blackmailers Make a Fortune with Stolen Ashley Madison User Info

Ashley Madison, the Blackmail Exercise Starts. Ashley Madison Hack News.

Since Ashley Madison, the adult dating site for those in committed relationships continues to make it to the news for all the wrong reasons. The website was hacked in July and compromised personal and intimate information belonging to millions of users.

Ashley Madison was hacked by a group calling itself Impact Team. Impact Team has allegedly demanded Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media to take down Ashley Madison and its sister site Established Men unless the company wants the stolen data to go public. Avid Life Media did not give in to these demands, resulting in Impact Team publishing over 25 gigabytes of sensitive information including corporate emails on the internet.

Once Ashley Madison’s user data became public, blackmailers jumped in to make full use of the opportunity. Many people whose information was made public started receiving ransom emails, asking them to pay a certain amount in bitcoin within a stipulated time. Otherwise, they threatened to send the target’s profile information to their spouse or other family members.

CloudMark, a network security firm, recently studied the extent of such blackmailing incidents and it was published in one of their blog posts. Analysts have come up with this figure by monitoring the transactions over the blockchain at the time when these blackmail threats were going around. They gave importance to transactions with a consistent size of about 1.05 BTC from wallets that had very little prior transaction history.

During the course of research, they came up with over 67 suspicious transactions totaling 70.35 BTC. These results may not signify the actual results as it includes consistent transactions of same size over a span of 4 days. There could be a lot more that might have missed the eye.

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Gautham has an eye for anything new. He has been part of multiple startups and his current project focuses towards the social good sector. An entrepreneur, engineer and enthusiast (bitcoin, of course), he has been moonlighting as a writer for multiple publications and currently writes at NewsBTC. Find him on twitter as @gautham_n and on facebook at /gautham.nm