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Ashley Madison hack linked to suicide, spam, and public outrage

Steve Ragan | Aug. 25, 2015
The Ashley Madison hack remains in the news as the stop source for gossip, outrage, spam, and marketing.

The company has since stopped claiming that the data released by Impact Team was false, or otherwise forged.

Spammers hijacking Ashley Madison suicide discussions on social media:

Over the weekend, spammers started hijacking conversations on social media by promoting a number of bogus links. Some of them lead to questionable destinations.

While a malware attack hasn't been confirmed, many of the links tested by Salted Hash routed through several locations before landing on the final page, an affiliate link used to promote books on Amazon. The books themselves are guides and self-help publications geared towards online anonymity. There were also keyword-based items using "Ashley Madison" and offers for romance novels.

On Twitter, many of the profiles promoting the questionable links appear to be bots that are triggered by the phrase "Ashley Madison Suicide" and are using the URL shortening service. Some are recycling the links through Tumblr as well.

The topic is centered on reports that emerged late last week. The story is that a San Antonio city employee took their own life after their data was discovered in the Ashley Madison client list. However, this story hasn't been fully confirmed.

The facts are that three San Antonio email addresses were found among the 37 million profiles leaked, and a city worker in San Antonio committed suicide last week. The city hasn't commented on any connection, assuming one exists.

However, if you know your data is in the Ashley Madison archives and you feel suicidal, take a moment and talk to someone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) is staffed 24-7. There's also a website:

Investigation firm uses Ashley Madison fears to drum up business:

Trustify, a company that connects people to private investigators, is using the Ashley Madison incident as a marketing tool.

Late last week on Reddit, a user posted an email from the company, which informed them that they, or someone they know, "recently used our search tool to see if your email address was compromised in the Ashley Madison leak, and we confirmed that your details were exposed."

"There are ways to hide the exposed details, but first you need to see what information can be found across the web. Talk with our experienced investigative consultants to learn how you can find out what incriminating information is available and could ruin your life," the email continued.

Online, after using the Trustify search tool, users will also see the following:

"Because you’ve been exposed, you need to know exactly what kind of information is out there. This kind of information can affect your job, love life, mortgages, and anything else where a background check is required. However, to truly understand the extent of how much damaging information is accessible about you online, you need an expert who knows where to look and has access to special databases unavailable to the general public."


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