37 million cheaters face exposure after Ashley Madison site hacked

Hackers have threatened to release the sordid details of the site’s 37 million users.

A screengrab of the Ashley Madison website

JOHANNESBURG - Cheating website Ashley Madison, which prides itself on being 'the world's leading married dating service for discreet encounters', has confirmed that hackers have breached its security.

Known as 'The Impact Team', the hackers are reportedly threatening to release nude photos and sexual fantasies of the site's clients unless it is shut down.

The hackers have already leaked snippets of the compromised data online, and are warning that will release customers' real names, profiles, nude photos, and credit card details unless their demands are met.

The company's Canadian parent, Avid Life Media, says it has since secured its site and is now working with law enforcement agencies to try to trace those behind the attack.

In a statement released today, it apologised for "this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers' information".

"We have always had the confidentiality of our customers' information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world. As other companies have experienced, these security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system."

With the tagline 'Life is short. Have an Affair', the website has faced a great deal of controversy, with many saying that it encourages married people to cheat.

Chief executive Noel Biderman, however, says the site simply provides 'a safe alternative' to those who are already planning to cheat.

It currently boasts 37 million members in 46 countries around the world, including South Africa, Japan and South Korea.

Apart from the many marriages the security breach could impact, it could also bring into question the company's plan to list on the London Stock Exchange later this year.