[This is Part III in a series on research conducted for a recent Hulu documentary on the 2015 hack of marital infidelity website AshleyMadison.com.]
In 2019, a Canadian company called Defiant Tech Inc. pleaded guilty to running LeakedSource[.]com, a service that sold access to billions of passwords and other data exposed in countless data breaches. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the owner of Defiant Tech, a 32-year-old Ontario man named Jordan Evan Bloom, was hired in late 2014 as a developer for the marital infidelity site AshleyMadison.com. Bloom resigned from AshleyMadison citing health reasons in June 2015 — less than one month before unidentified hackers stole data on 37 million users — and launched LeakedSource three months later.
[This is Part II of a story published here last week on reporting that went into a new Hulu documentary series on the 2015 Ashley Madison hack.]
It was around 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 19, when I received a message through the contact form on KrebsOnSecurity.com that the marital infidelity website AshleyMadison.com had been hacked. The message contained links to confidential Ashley Madison documents, and included a manifesto that said a hacker group calling itself the Impact Team was prepared to leak data on all 37 million users unless Ashley Madison and a sister property voluntarily closed down within 30 days.
It’s been seven years since the online cheating site AshleyMadison.com was hacked and highly sensitive data about its users posted online. The leak led to the public shaming and extortion of many AshleyMadison users, and to at least two suicides. To date, little is publicly known about the perpetrators or the true motivation for the attack. But a recent review of AshleyMadison mentions across Russian cybercrime forums and far-right underground websites in the months leading up to the hack revealed some previously unreported details that may deserve further scrutiny.
AshleyMadison.com, a site that helps married people cheat and whose slogan is “Life is Short, have an Affair,” recently put up a half million (Canadian) dollar bounty for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the Impact Team, the name chosen by the hacker(s) who released data on more than 30 million Ashley Madison users. Here is the first of likely several posts examining individuals who appear to be closely connected to this attack.
Hacked online cheating service AshleyMadison.com is portraying itself as a victim of malicious cybercriminals, but leaked emails from the company’s CEO suggests that AshleyMadison’s top leadership hacked into a competing dating service in 2012.
Many news sites and blogs are reporting that the data stolen last month from 37 million users of AshleyMadison.com — a site that facilitates cheating and extramarital affairs — has finally been posted online for the world to see. In the past 48 hours, several huge dumps of data claiming to be the actual AshleyMadison database have turned up online. But there are precious few details in them that would allow one to verify these claims, and the company itself says it so far sees no indication that the files are legitimate.