The privacy of some 37 million account-holders is at stake, though the bulk of the dataset is apparently being withheld and its contents remain uncharted territory.
The social network's boss, bless his stupid nylon socks, thinks that he'll be able to take their "intellectual property" off the 'net.
Reached by KrebsOnSecurity late Sunday evening, ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman confirmed the hack, and said the company was "working diligently and feverishly" to take down ALM's intellectual property. Indeed, in the short span of 30 minutes between that brief interview and the publication of this story, several of the Impact Team's Web links were no longer responding.
"We're not denying this happened," Biderman said. "Like us or not, this is still a criminal act."
The claimed hackers say they were motivated by the site's hypocrisy. Ashley Madison apparently had a "remove your data from our servers for a fee" wheeze going on—a practice unnervingly reminiscent of some revenge porn operators.
The Impact Team said that the 'full delete' feature didn't actually wipe profiles as advertised and that it brought ALM $1.7 million in revenue last year.
The hackers said:
Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.
The Impact Team also demanded that ALM take down AshleyMadison and Established Men permanently:
Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.
"Life is short," the site promises. "Have an affair."