Breach, Compliance Management, Data Security, Privacy, Threat Management

Ransom notes sent by blackmailers to wives of Ashley Madison hack victims

Blackmailers have begun sending ransom letters to the wives of alleged users of the extramarital website Ashley Madison.

The threatening letters demand that the women pay $2,500 in Bitcoin or the blackmailer will tell the woman's friends, family and colleagues that her husband used the site, security blogger Graham Cluley said in a Wednesday post.

The letters also stated the husband was contacted previously via other means but didn't pay the ransom.

Cluley advised recipients not to pay and speculated that the most recent wave of blackmail letters indicated that the threat actors have become desperate after previous attempts failed to persuade the alleged users themselves through blackmail demands sent via email.

So far, only Americans have been targeted and the letters were postmarked from the state of Virginia, according to The Telegraph.

Cluley also said the letters are addressed only as “Mrs.,” followed by the husband's last name.

“They don't know anything about the wives of the Ashley Madison members so this could be quite a lot of effort involved if the blackmailer actually did want to go through with their scheme,” Cluley said.

He advised anyone who has received a letter to contact the proper authorities.

The most recent string of threats comes roughly eight months after hackers, calling themselves The Impact Team, hacked into the Ashley Madison database and leaked “customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions," along with other data belonging to the website's operators. 

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