- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Several Georgia governments are investigating after city, county and state agency email addresses were found in data hackers say they exposed from a website used by people trying to cheat on their spouses, officials said.

Hackers claim they’ve exposed unfaithful partners across the world, posting what they said were the personal details of millions of people registered with the website Ashley Madison.

Several email addresses hosted by government servers for cities and counties across Georgia are included in the data, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The city of Atlanta has confirmed with an outside threat-intelligence vendor that up to eight email addresses involved in the breach could belong to Atlanta city workers, said Melissa Mullinax, a senior adviser to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Using government email for such endeavors would be a violation of the city’s information technology policy, she said.

In Marietta, city officials say they’re also investigating whether any employees used their government email on the site.

“The city is aware of the situation and is currently investigating the report that stated mariettaga.gov domain email addresses were used for this website,” Marietta spokeswoman Lindsey Wiles told the Atlanta newspaper. “At this time we are investigating the validity of both the database and the email addresses used.”

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said officials there are also investigating.

In Augusta, email addresses with the augustaga.gov domain and one ending in columbiacountyga.gov turned up in the database, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

Augusta City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said she was aware the addresses had surfaced in the data. Jackson noted that city computers block access to the dating website, so if an employee used his or her government email account for that purpose, it would have been done from another computer.

Ashley Madison has long courted attention with its claim to be the Internet’s leading facilitator of extramarital liaisons, boasting of having nearly 39 million members and that “thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands sign up every day looking for an affair.”

Its owner, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc., has previously acknowledged suffering an electronic break-in and said in a statement Tuesday it was investigating the hackers’ claim. U.S. and Canadian law enforcement are involved in the probe, the company said.

TrustedSec Chief Executive Dave Kennedy said the information dump included full names, passwords, street addresses, credit card information and “an extensive amount of internal data.” In a separate blog, Errata Security Chief Executive Rob Graham said the information released included details such as users’ height, weight and GPS coordinates. He said men outnumbered women on the service five-to-one.


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