Gigabytes worth of data taken during last month's hack of the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has purportedly been published online—an act that, if true, could prove highly embarrassing for the men and women who have used the service over the years.
A 10-gigabyte file purportedly containing e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive Ashley Madison information became available as a BitTorrent download in the past few hours. Ars hasn't had an opportunity to download the massive file to confirm its contents. As the screenshot above indicates, the dump contains files with titles including "aminno_member_dump.gz," "aminno_member_email.dump.gz," "CreditCardTransactions7z," and "member_details.dump.gz," an indication that the download could contain highly personal details. People have already taken to 8chan and other sites to discuss the contents of the data. Their posts unsurprisingly report that many of the names and other identifying information appear to be falsified.
Assuming the download turns out to be authentic, people should remember that it was possible for anyone to create an account using the name and e-mail address of other individuals. That means an entry for a given individual doesn't automatically prove the person was behind it. Still, it would be harder for hoaxters to falsify credit card transactions and member profiles. As a result, the data could prove devastating if used by divorce attorneys, blackmailers, and others. This post will be updated as this story develops.