Ashley Madison Offering $378,000 Reward For Info On Hackers

ashleymadison-580x370While big companies have been known to offer “bounties” to white-hat hackers to test for weaknesses in their networks and websites to ensure they aren’t one day breached in a cyber attack, it’s too late for AshleyMadison.com, the dating site for cheaters. After the embarrassment of having its users’ private information made very public, the site is now dangling several hundred thousand dollars as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the group behind the massive hack. 

The Toronto Police Department today announced that Avid Life Media – the parent company for the cheaters website – has ponied up half a million Canadian dollars (approx. $378,000 USD, based on today’s exchange rate) as a reward for assistance from the public to identify the people behind the massive breach and subsequent release of personal information, which included customer names and emails from Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman.

[NOTE: Though some news outlets are reporting the reward as $500,000 in U.S. currency, Consumerist has confirmed with Avid Life that this figure is in Canadian dollars.]

Authorities appealed to the hacking community during a news conference Tuesday morning, urging them to “do the right thing” by providing information about the group responsible.

“This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world and is very unique on its own in that it exposed tens of millions of people’s personal information,” police officials said during a news conference Monday morning.

The Ashley Madison breach came to light back in July, when hackers posted a small sample of stolen data online. The company assured users that all data was secure just a day later.

However, last week, the hackers released the personal information of about 30 million users. The next day, a second data dump occurred, followed by a third over the weekend.

One of the motives behind the Ashley Madison attack is the site’s “Full Delete” feature, which charges users around $20 to fully scrub their information from the website. If users don’t pay for the deletion when they stop using the site, their info remains online but is hidden from search results. According to a leaked document, the company makes nearly $2 million a year from people wishing to be forgotten completely.

Toronto Police ask anyone with knowledge of the hacker group to contact authorities.

Detectives also warned anyone trying to identify victims of the data breach that they are risking “malware, spyware, virus attacks on your devices.”

[via The Associated Press]