California Government Emails Linked To Ashley Madison Website Hack

The official email addresses of almost 50 California state government employees are present on a list revealed by hackers of the cheating website, Ashley Madison.

The email addresses belong to many different state bodies including the department of Transportation, Public Health, and Industrial Relations. However, there wasn’t any elected official on the list.

A Brown administration representative said that the tech team performs routine checks to take note of any misuse of government email. Several cases of misuse have come up in the past. However, she refused to comment if any of them had links to Ashley Madison.

State departments are immediately notified about any misuse and disciplinary action is swiftly taken. This year, there have been over 100 notifications of misuse.

In total, there are over 15,000 government emails linked to the White House, military branches, and top federal agencies. Washington, D.C. tops the chart amongst all states with the highest rate of membership to Ashley Madison.

About a month ago, a group of hackers, calling themselves, “Impact Team,” hacked Ashley Madison’s user database. The group threatened to publicly release the names of users of Ashley Madison if the owner didn’t take down the website. Avid Life Media owns Ashley Madison that goes by the tagline, “Life is short. Have an affair.”

The group released the Ashley Madison data on Tuesday. According to top security researchers, the data is most likely authentic. David Kennedy, TrustedSec’s CEO, said, “This dump appears to be legit.”

Researchers are saying that the Ashley Madison database is staggering with more than 37 million records. Brian Kerbs, a security journalist, reported that several Ashley Madison users have confirmed to him that their information is on the list.

The list includes all personal data of the users including their GPS coordinates. Names of British government officials, Vatican staff, and United Nations employees are also present on the Ashley Madison leak.

However, there is also a strong likelihood of fake government accounts. For instance, there are several email addresses registered with the domain name “whitehouse.gov.” Actual White House employees use “eop.gov.”

The hacker group has stated that their purpose is to publicly shame the cheating website while also teaching Ashley Madison users a lesson.

According to the Impact Group, it is Ashley Madison owners who failed its users. Users should claim damages and prosecute Avid Life Media. They also added, “Learn your lesson and make amends.”

Stanford law professor Deborah Rhode said that this reflects a culture in which people’s personal and work lives “spill over.”

[Photo: Screenshot taken from Ashleymadison.com]