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1.2 million British Ashley Madison users face blackmail danger

Visitors of Ashley Madison, a recently hacked site where married people look for affairs, could become victims of blackmail.

A total of 37 million users, including some 1.2 million Britons, could be blackmailed by either The Impact Team, a group of hackers that recently stole private information from Ashley Madison's users, or whoever that group sells the information to.

Security experts believe blackmail could be the case because the majority of the information stolen is still kept secret.

Will Gragido, head of threat intelligence research at Digital Shadows, said that this particular hacking appears to be “extortion-focused”, Telegraph (opens in new tab)writes in a report.

He said that in a previous hack of Adult Friend Finder, a website for swingers, “data was evident in underground cybercrime forums relatively soon.

“We see comparatively little Ashley Madison data in circulation, suggesting the attackers want to hold as much as they can for ransom.”

A group which goes by the name The Impact Team, recently hacked into Ashley Madison and stole data from its 37 million users, including full names and addresses. The group says it has done so because the site lies about the “hard delete” feature.

Ashley Madison offers a full delete of a user’s profile for a fee of $19 in the US, and £15 in the UK, and has denied these accusations. It also offered this feature for free, following the breach.

A hacking insider named 'Vinnie' told Sky News said he thought the hackers would not release the data as promised in threats, but sell it on the deep web to other criminals.

"They’ll profit from this in a big way, especially with the size of this database."

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.