Earlier this week, hackers released personal and very intimate details of millions of users of the website Ashley Madison, an infidelity website whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” The Ashley Madison took place a month ago, with the hackers threatening to release all personal details of their users if parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc., did not shut down the site.
Because of Avid Life’s decision not to shut down the site, apparently confident that the hackers were only calling a bluff, the hackers went true to their word, revealing information of the millions who registered to the site and cheated.
One shocking information revealed during the process is that hundreds of high-level U.S. government employees have used Ashley Madison, and during work hours.
According to the Associated Press, the list of positions in the government who made use of the site surprisingly include the White House, law enforcement agencies, even Congress. They reportedly used their federal office’s internet connections to access the cheating website and pay for membership fees.
It is highly likely that Washington, D.C. will be on edge since release of their employees’ detailed data linked to the Ashley Madison hack. According to The Hill, the nation’s capital currently has the highest rate of membership in the cheating website. True enough, it was revealed that more than 15,000 email addresses revealed on Twitter Tuesday have been hosted on servers inside the government and the military.
According to the AP, federal workers included in the Ashley Madison hack are at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a DHS employee who worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; and a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department.
While the number of those who paid for their fees used government email, the AP has reportedly traced their government Internet connections and reviewed credit-card transactions for identification. The publication learned that two dozen worked at Obama administration agencies, which include the departments of State, Defense, Transportation and Homeland Security, Energy, Justice and Treasury. Meanwhile, others were revealed to have come from the House or Senate computer networks.
The Ashley Madison users from the government were not identified by the AP because they are neither elected officials nor have they been accused of a crime.
However, adultery is reportedly a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. According to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the Pentagon is now on the lookout for people on the Ashely Madison hack list who used the website using military email addresses.
According to Fox News, federal policies depends for employees and agency as to whether they can use websites like Ashley Madison during work hours. However, the new info revealed about federal employees raises questions about what type of personal business is acceptable for government employees working on taxpayer time.
According to the Homeland Security Department rules for use of work computers, workers can only use devices for official purposes, but “limited personal use is authorized as long as this use does not interfere with official duties or cause degradation of network services.”
“Inappropriate sites” including those that are “obscene, hateful, harmful, malicious, hostile, threatening, abusive, vulgar, defamatory, profane, or racially, sexually, or ethnically objectionable,” are those which employees are barred from access.
According to the Ashley Madison hackers, their main mission is to shame the company publicly, and teach users a lesson as well.
“Find yourself in here?” they said in a statement. “It was [Avid Life Media] that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.”
As for Avid Life’s response, they have called the hackers criminals, adding that U.S. and Canada law enforcement are now investigating the crime, reported NBC News. The company has declined any further comment on the incident.