Online infidelity website AshleyMadison.com is putting up a $379,000 bounty for any information that helps facilitate the arrests and prosecution of the individual or hackers who call themselves the ‘Impact Team’, reports The Verge.
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Bryce Evans, the Toronto Police Staff Superintendent, announced the bounty on behalf of Ashley Madison at a press conference. Toronto is the city where Avid Life Media (ALM), is situated.
“Today I can confirm that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database,” announced Evans in the press conference.
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Furthermore, Evans also informed the media that the police are investigating unconfirmed reports of multiple suicides related to the leak of information after the breach, according to reports from the BBC and Reuters.
“As of this morning, we have two unconfirmed reports of suicides that are associated [with] the leak of AshleyMadison customer profiles,” announced Evans.
“There’s a very real chance that people are going to overreact. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw people taking their lives because of this, and obviously piling on with ridicule and trying to out people is not gonna [sic] help the situation.”
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Additionally, a raft of extortion scams are now targeting victims whose information is readily available in the leak of the breached data. Krebs’ blog KrebsOnSecrutiy highlighted a story about one particular extortion scheme, where the blackmailer threatened to notify the victim’s spouse unless he or she was paid a Bitcoin (worth just over $250).
“Criminals have already engaged in online scams by claiming to provide access to the leaked website,” Evans said. “The public needs to be aware that by clicking on these links, you are exposing your computer to adware and spyware and viruses. Also, there are those offering to erase customer profiles from the list. Nobody is going to be able to erase that information.”
Evans and Avid Life Media have sought help from anyone who can provide information about the hackers, including ‘white-hat’ hackers.
Avid Life Media confirmed the investigation in a statement of their own, saying:
“In the very best interest of our customers, who have been affected by this malicious act, we are firmly committed to fully assisting these law enforcement and investigative authorities, without reserve.”
In the meantime, the Toronto Police Department has advised victims of the Ashley Madison hack targeted by extortionists and other scams to not give in to any ransom demands. Additionally, the police have also released their contact details via phone lines and Twitter, encouraging users to report any extortion crimes or ransom demands via the Toronto Police Twitter account.