RISK: Ashley Madison hack may have led to two suicides

"This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world."

The hack of the cheating website Ashley Madison has triggered extortion crimes and led to two unconfirmed reports of suicides, Canadian police said Monday.

The company behind Ashley Madison is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of members of a group that hacked the site.

Read: Class-action lawsuit established in Ashley Madison data leak

Hackers last week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website, a month after a break-in at Ashley Madison’s parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website, whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair,” is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

Toronto Police acting staff-Supt. Bryce Evans said the hack is having an “enormous social and economic fallout.”

“This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world,” Evans said. “This is affecting all of us. The social impact behind this leak, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about children, we’re talking about wives, their male partners.”

Read: How to prevent an Ashley Madison-style hack by company insiders

The hackers who took responsibility for the break-in had accused the website’s owners of deceit and incompetence, and said the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site. The hackers referred to themselves as the Impact Team.

Evans said the hackers released the entire Ashley Madison client list, which claims to have more than 30 million users worldwide. He said the hackers also sent a taunting message to the company CEO and released his emails.

Read: File breach at electronic spy agency prompts mandatory privacy training

Evans said there are confirmed cases of criminals attempting to extort Ashley Madison clients by threatening to expose them unless payment is received.

The police official did not offer further details of the unconfirmed suicides. He also said hate crimes may be connected to the hack but did not provide details.

Evans addressed the hackers directly, saying their actions are “illegal and will not be tolerated.”

“This is your wake-up call,” he said. A representative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attended the news conference.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.