A man from New Zealand said blackmailers are requiring him to pay in bitcoins following a leak of his Ashley Madison account data, the Stuff website reported. According to the man, he received a mail from a sender ‘Team GrayFlay’ who threated to release his personal information, including his name, credit card and address.
Ashley Madison is an online dating website launched in Canada in 2001. As of 2015, the site, which is targeted at married people, attracts over 124 million visitors each month.
The email, which was given to CoinDesk, asked the man to make a payment of about $450 US dollars in digital currency within seven days. It also contained a link to the CoinDesk bitcoin ATM map and bitcoin exchange market LocalBitcoins
The message, dated August 20, read: “Unfortunately your data was leaked in the recent hacking of Ashley Madison and I now have your information.” The sender posed threats that if the payment will not be made the man’s information will be given to his “significant other”.
“Consider how expensive a divorce lawyer is,” the message said. “With this information your significant other would be able to verify with your credit card company that you were indeed involved with Ashley Madison and therefore cheating or looking to cheat.”
Although the man is single and has already changed his credit card, he is worried that blackmailers can hack other accounts.
“I was single, joined for three to four days and the site wasn’t that interesting,” he said, explaining why he registered at the extramarital affair platform this year.
“Then I deleted it. It pretty much sucked as a dating website – it was hard to use, it cost money to send messages to people. Tinder would out-rate it ten to one.”
Besides, the email said that if the man was in a divorce, to think about how leaked data may influence any court proceedings. “If you are no longer in a committed relationship then think about how this will affect your social standing amongst family and friends.”
New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner John Edwards noted that the emails with threats should be given to police. “If contact, profile or credit card information from Ashley Madison is being distributed by someone you know, you can make a complaint to this office,” he said. “We will be able to investigate, but that process will take some time.”
According to the Medium website, the leak could have been prevented. The fact that Ashley Madison includes regular charges, it can use credit card information of its users without their permit. There is no need to provide your personal data so that the company could take your money.
None of this information is necessary with the use of virtual currency. The website receives and confirms the payment without requiring any personal data.
In view of the Ashley Madison hacker attack, bitcoin seems a great solution for companies that should teach their users to transact in cryptocurrency.