- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2015

A second trove of data purported to have been pilfered from hacked dating website Ashley Madison has surfaced online in as many days, this time containing files thought to include sensitive corporate information.

The latest leak appeared Thursday and is already being attributed to the same group of computer hackers, The Impact Team, that breached Ashley Madison earlier this year and dumped roughly 10 gigabytes of data earlier in the week.

This time the hackers have published a torrent file roughly 18.5 gigabytes in size, the exact contents of the which are not immediately clear. Nevertheless, the torrent contains several compressed but substantially sized files with names that suggest the latest release includes internal documents and several gigabytes of emails stolen from Noel Biderman, CEO of the dating site’s parent company, Avid Life Media.

Hundreds of computers attempted to download the contents of the second torrent Thursday afternoon shortly after its existence was reported, first by Motherboard. Yet while the sheer size of the trove and the underlying technology involved in processing torrent files has prevented its contents from immediately being deciphered, the torrent contains compressed folders with names such as “AshleyMadison,” “Avid,” “DBA” and “noel.biderman.mail,” among others.

Along with the torrent, a message appeared on the Dark Web on Thursday reading only “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now.” The message is signed using the same public encryption key tied to the previous leak, suggesting the second dump is again the handiwork of The Impact Team.

Representatives for Avid Life Media did not immediately return The Washington Times’ requests for comments Thursday.

The Impact Team boasted in July of having breached Ashley Madison’s computers and demanded that Avid Life Media take the website offline in 30 days or face repercussions. True to their word, the torrent that surfaced Tuesday was soon revealed to contain user data for millions of account holders and has subsequently caused outrage both off and on the Web.

“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality,” the Toronto-based parent company responded Tuesday. “We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world. We are continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement to seek to hold the guilty parties accountable to the strictest measures of the law.”

The hackers said originally that they had targeted the site to draw attention to Ashley Madison’s failed promises of security, but also to expose users of a commercial dating service that encourages infidelity among its customers. The site, whose tagline is “Life is short, have an affair,” had told users that their account data would be permanently erased if they paid a one-time fee.

The FBI said Wednesday that it is investigating the breach but could not comment further “because it’s an ongoing matter.”

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