Friday 21 October 2016

Ashley Madison: Irish names listed include politician, academics and businessmen

TD rubbishes claim he was among those registered on cheaters site

Published 21/08/2015 | 02:30

Ashley Madison was hacked last month by a group calling itself The Impact Team
Ashley Madison was hacked last month by a group calling itself The Impact Team
Michelle Thomson, an SNP MP, claimed that a hacker had used her old email address

A TD has rubbished suggestions he was a subscriber to an infidelity website.

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The names of the politician, civil servants, academics and businessmen are among the thousands of Irish people who have had details of their alleged accounts on the Ashley Madison website leaked by hackers, the Irish Independent can reveal.

More than 300 email addresses linked to some of the country's most prestigious third-level institutions feature on the list, which was published on the so-called Dark Web - a hidden part of the internet.

Although the names are listed, it is possible any of these individuals could have been registered by a prankster.

The TD was last night seeking legal advice after being informed that he is allegedly listed.

Sources close to the politician said he was shocked at the allegation as he had "never heard of the website" until yesterday and had been the victim of a prank or "more sinister element".

Computer hackers gained access to the entire database of Ashley Madison, a dating website for people who want to have affairs, and posted the names of all 37 million users on the internet. Around 115,000 are reported to be Irish.

A massive data dump was posted on Tuesday to the dark web which can only be accessed through specialised browsers.

A well-known TD last night disputed claims that his email address had been used to access the popular cheating page.

A source said he was "taking the allegation very seriously".

Ashley Madison was hacked last month by a group calling itself The Impact Team
Ashley Madison was hacked last month by a group calling itself The Impact Team

Read more: Hackers claim to provide a service - but really they are destroying families

"There is nothing to it and we are not going to facilitate any speculation around it," said the source. "Somebody is either having fun with this or there is a more sinister angle involved.

"This is being treated exceptionally seriously and (the person involved) has sought legal advice on the matter."

The Irish Independent understands that some 224 people named on the list having signed up to the paid site - which has the tagline "Life's short. Have an affair" - have done so using Trinity College email addresses.

Fifty-one accounts on the list said to have been registered to the expensive clandestine hook-up site are listed as having Cork Institute of Technology email addresses, using "" email accounts.

Eight accounts were registered using an ‘’ staff email address. At least 18 of their neighbours at University College Cork also logged on, using a "" email address.

Many of the names seen by this newspaper are respected academics with families.

However, their email addresses may have been compromised and used by other people without their permission.

Despite the seriousness of the security breach, a spokesperson for the Data Commissioner said they would not be commenting on the situation.

They said the "office is not in receipt of any queries from concerned individuals. In addition, the website is not Irish-controlled and accordingly it is outside the jurisdiction of this office.

"Where appropriate, this office will co-operate with any of the investigations being carried out in other jurisdictions."

Read more: Q&A: Surely there can't be much demand for this?

In the UK, scientists working in a top-secret defence laboratory and a female MP are among hundreds of public servants whose personal details have been published online.

Michelle Thomson, a newly elected Scottish Nationalist Party MP, said a hacker had used her old email address to access the website and she had never visited it herself.

Among the employees in Britain are 124 civil servants, 92 Ministry of Defence staff, around 50 police officers, 56 NHS workers, 65 local education and school staff and 1,716 people at universities and further education colleges.

Irish Independent

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