Skip to main content

Ashley Madison: Blackmailers now sending letters to homes of hacked users

Ashley Madison
The fallout from July’s massive Ashley Madison hack drags on, with some of those caught up in the incident now receiving letters in the mail threatening to tell friends and family about their use of the site unless they hand over cash.

One recipient of the letter was ordered to pay just over $4,000 or face the consequences, according to prominent security expert Graham Cluley.

Related Videos

Cluley said in a blog post that although “Internet low-lives” have been sending out a steady stream of blackmail emails since the summer, it’s now apparent that “blackmailers are also prepared to take things a step further and write letters to the homes of hacked users.” He described the criminals’ change in strategy as “an unpleasant turn” of events.

The high-profile hack saw the personal details of 33 million people stolen from Ashley Madison, an adultery website that runs with the tagline, “Life is short, have an affair.”

The security specialist revealed a letter sent to him recently by one of the blackmailers’ targets. The recipient told Cluley they’d just received “a physical postal letter” to their home address demanding money, and asked the expert for advice.

Cluley said that although it must have been distressing to receive the letter, he was “strongly of the opinion that – in the majority of cases – blackmailers are trying their luck, hoping that a small percentage of those targeted will pay up.”

He suggests that recipients sit tight as “paying the blackmailers any money is only likely to make them focus on you more. Ignoring them is probably a better plan.” He added that anyone who receives such a letter should seriously consider informing the police.

Cluley told the BBC he’s been contacted numerous times by Ashley Madison users who’ve received threats via email, but switching to physical mail meant the action had been “stepped up a gear.”

He added that in his opinion it was unlikely the original hackers were involved in the blackmail efforts, suggesting it’s probably the work of others who got hold of the personal data after it was posted on the Web in August, a month after the hack took place.

Editors' Recommendations

Texas parking payment problems now include scammy QR codes
QR Code scam alert.

You might want to avoid that QR code plastered on a parking meter the next time you visit a place in Texas (or any other state, just to be on the safe side). Also known as Quick Response codes, they are a fairly common medium for scammers to get rich quickly by tricking people into paying them or implanting malware. Now, they are pasting it on parking meters to earn some dough by conning unsuspecting drivers.

As per a Fox News report, 29 parking pay stations in Austin have been found plastered with fraudulent QR codes. For the unaware, parking stations in Austin only accept payments via the official ParkATX app, coins, and banking cards -- both credit and debit. The Austin Police Department has already issued a warning about the ongoing scam on social media platforms, but it appears that the scam has spread to more cities in Texas.

Read more
Twitter Super Follows are now available to Android users
A Twitter logo graphic.

Twitter has made several major changes to its platform to enhance its usage and compete with other social media brands. The new Super Follows feature is among the latest changes, with Twitter confirming that its Super Follows subscription is now available to Android users as well.

For those who aren't aware, Super Follows is a subscription service where users can create exclusive content and monetize their accounts. Content creators can decide how much they wish to charge for monthly content. As of December 2021, monthly subscriptions of $3, $5, and $10 are available. Twitter will allow users to keep up to 97% of the revenue generated from their subscriptions. But if creators are earning more than $50,000 per month, their revenue share drops to 80%.

Read more
The South Korean smart home hack is the stuff of nightmares
Hands on a laptop.

Over the weekend, Korean media reported that a group of unidentified hackers had recorded and distributed photo and video files from the smart home security devices of over 700 apartment complexes.

South Korea is known for having a well-connected broadband and wireless network system where it is common for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be installed in residences. IoT devices are your everyday objects and intelligent devices that connect to the internet, such as smart lighting, smart vacuum cleaners, and smart security systems -- those devices that you can control using your voice or phone. At the heart of most of these residences is a wall pad, which is a keypad attached to the wall and is the central hub of all the IoT devices in the home. The wall pad can activate, control, and monitor all the smart devices in the house.

Read more