- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Information technology experts with the state of New Mexico said Friday an initial review has identified four valid state employee email addresses on the list of millions of subscribers leaked following the breach of the cheating website Ashley Madison.

The Department of Information Technology confirmed it was conducting a review and working with the state personnel office to determine which, if any, workers violated the state’s Code of Conduct.

“The use of state time or resources for this kind of activity would be clearly inappropriate and is strictly prohibited. We’re conducting a thorough investigation of the possible use of state computing resources to access the website,” agency spokesman Estevan Lujan told The Associated Press via email.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website. Thousands of subscribers nationwide signed up using municipal, state and federal government networks.

Aside from the state email addressed that have been identified, addresses linked to domains maintained by the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Los Alamos National Laboratory and state courts were on the list.

Los Alamos officials said they are aware of the handful of lab email addresses on the list. “We take the matter seriously and are reviewing,” a spokesman said.

The court system emails belonged to two classified service employees, said Barry Massey, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts. The agency is looking into whether the employees misused their work emails or violated policy.

Judicial branch policy prohibits the use of email and the Internet for the “transmission, retrieval or storage of materials of a discriminatory or harassing nature, or materials that are pornographic, obscene, defamatory or otherwise abusive or inappropriate.”

Experts say many of the email addresses appear to be bogus, and some may have been registered with the site without their owners’ consent.

Of the several addresses associated with Bernalillo County, officials said one was found to be valid and that employee was issued a new email address as a security precaution.

The county also is reviewing whether any policies have been violated, county spokesman Andy Lenderman said.

The hackers who struck Ashley Madison have accused the site of filling it with fake profiles and extorting fees for wiping profiles that were never truly deleted. Avid Life Media Inc., one of the site’s owners, has not responded to AP questions about the alleged practices.

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