Definition: Ashley Madison
An online dating service for people who are married or otherwise committed but are looking for additional romance. One of the most controversial sites on the Web, Canada-based Ashley Madison debuted in 2001, and more than 30 million people have signed up worldwide. Members pay for the time they communicate with other members.
In July 2015, customer records were stolen from the Ashley Madison site and private sensitive data were posted online. Cyber criminals leveraged that data by emailing thousands of people on the list threatening that their Ashley Madison accounts were going to be shared with every one of their email contacts unless payment in Bitcoin was made. Afraid of the consequences, some people paid up, even though it was mostly an idle threat. It may be easy to copy online public data with the account owner's email, but it is not easy to steal the contacts for those people.