Thousands of South Africans affected by Ashley Madison hack

By Lindsay de Freitas
20 August 2015

Among the 37 million site users outed are the details of an estimated 175 000 South African men and women.

Hackers who accessed data from cheating website AshleyMadison.com a month ago have made good on their promise to name and shame site users. Among the 37 million site users outed are the details of an estimated 175 000 South African men and women, Memeburn reports.

Ashley Madison is a website designed to help married people cheat on their spouses. Their slogan reads: "Life is short. Have an affair." The site, owned by Avid Media, had nearly 40 million users, an estimated 200 000 of which were South African. The hackers, who call themselves the "Impact Team", initially stole sensitive customer information from the cheating site in July this year. At the time they threatened to release the information if the offending site wasn’t closed down. The information stolen from the site included sexual preferences, credit card transactions, real names and addresses and interactions between site users.

'Now everyone gets to see their data'
"Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison," read a statement released by the hackers on Tuesday. "We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data."

The Impact Team subsequently posted a data dump of 9,7 gigabytes to something called the ‘dark web’, a part of the Internet which can't be searched by Google or common search engines and can only be viewed with a special browser.

While the info might not be easily accessible by the average internet user, scores of sites (like this one) that allow users to simply search for their spouse's (or their own) email addresses have popped up.

Some South Africans, however, are seeing the bright side of the hack. Local retailer Net Florist is looking to take advantage of those affected by issuing a newsletter which reads, “Remind them why you put a ring on it…#AshleyMadison”

Sources: memeburn.com, wired.com, cnn.com

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