This confirmed that someone had deliberately created false accounts. According to Flores, there is the possibility that Ashley Madison did it to create accounts in other countries in order to drive up usage globally.However, the other scenario is that hackers made the accounts for spamming purposes – message boards, for instance, could be inundated with links to malicious websites. Flores also noted that like the Trend Micro honeypots, some of the email addresses that appeared on the Ashley Madison dump list hypothetically could have been lifted from other parts of the Web by spammers.
Upon closer inspection, Trend Micro researcher Ryan Flores was able to trace the account creators to specific IP addresses, and to determine that many of them had been created only minutes apart.
He was also able to conclude that they were created by humans, and not by bots.
According to multiple news sources, hackers managed to steal personal details and login credentials of approximately 32 million users including names, contact information, addresses, passwords and more.
The perpetrators agreed not to do anything with data under one condition: That Ashley Madison and its sister site Established Men – which links younger women with older men who have money – were to be shut down completely.
Not everyone on the Internet is who they say they are, and this may include that impossibly charming individual you met on OKCupid who has all of the same interests as you.
This person may be orchestrating a catfishing scheme, which, as noted in a Trend Micro blog post from earlier this year, could entail wooing online users to trick them into sending money, but they may be cooking up something a little more sinister.
Depending on the weight of the information, and the desperation of the victim, this type of scheme can actually be quite effective.
Just imagine what a high-profile politician might be willing to pay.
In the case of Ashley Madison, a fake user might convince an actual user to share compromising information with them.
They could then threaten to share this information with a spouse or family member unless money is sent to them.
Regardless of the scheme, eligible bachelors and bachelorettes – or those who are just looking to have a good time – have a new cyber threat vector to watch out for: Online dating sites and "hookup" apps.