The Ashley Madison website was hacked which resulted in a large amount of user data being stolen. The database was then published online and resulted in blackmail threats being made against users whose information was taken.
- I’m being blackmailed. What should I do? The most important advice we can offer is do not pay the ransom demand or respond to the email threats. The database taken from the company contained millions of email addresses and this is being used by many different operators to send out template demands for payment.
- How have I been identified? Most email demands we’ve seen suggest those behind the threats have the ability to locate individual users based on their digital footprint. The scam emails normally suggest people will be identified through their Facebook profile – even if they don’t actually use the site – or another online presence with the threat being made that the blackmailers will contact friends or family members to ‘expose the shame’ of being listed in the Ashley Madison database.
- What can I do if I receive these emails? Ignore and delete any blackmail emails you receive – responding will only confirm that your email address listed in the hacked database is still being used and could result in further harassment. Do not pay any ransom demand. Consider changing the email address you used on the Ashley Madison website as the leaked data will continue to be used for various purposes.
Need help or advice? Contact us.
- Email email@example.com
- Call us toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
- Online report form at netsafe.org.nz/report
Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.