Last week, a hacking ring calling itself “Impact Team” released a trove of information collected by Ashley Madison, a dating site that connected people looking to have extramarital affairs. Not only were details pertaining to more than 30 million Ashley Madison accounts leaked, but Impact Team also dropped a 30-gigabyte archive which it said encompassed e-mails from the company’s CEO, Noel Biderman.
In one of the more salient exchanges, according to KrebsOnSecuirty, Ashley Madison’s Chief Technology Officer Raja Bhatia apparently e-mailed Biderman in 2012 to tell him that he had discovered a security hole in a site called nerve.com, which operated a dating platform that was an Ashley Madison competitor at the time. A few months before, Nerve had approached Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, with an offer to partner with the company. E-mails suggested that Bhatia offered at least $20 million for Nerve and another website called flirts.com, but Ashley Madison ended up declining to pursue the deal.
When Bhatia started probing Nerve’s site for weaknesses, however, he found some interesting things. As he wrote to Biderman, “They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base. Also, I can turn any non paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.” Bhatia included a link to a sample of the database, apparently.
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