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In another statement, ALM claimed there was nothing it could have done better to prevent the attack: “no company’s online assets are safe from cyber-vandalism,” despite having the “latest privacy and security technologies.” Impact Team agreed, apologizing to ALM’s security head: Many questions remain unanswered, including how ALM stored users’ passwords: were they properly salted and hashed, for example?Hashes are the best way to handle passwords because you can create a hash from a password, but you can’t recreate a password from a hash.Ashley Madison users, you are “cheating dirtbags” in the judgmental eyes of whoever attacked the adulterers’ dating site, and, with no sympathy forthcoming from the culprits, your personal details are in danger of being published, if they haven’t already.
Krebs published an image showing the attackers’ lengthy manifesto, which was published alongside data stolen from Avid Life Media (ALM): the Toronto firm that owns Ashley Madison as well as the related hookup sites Cougar Life and Established Men.This option was developed due to specific member requests for just such a service, and designed based on their feedback.It’s not clear how much stolen data has been published, though Krebs reports that it looks like a relatively small percentage of user account data.Properly stored passwords are combined with a set of extra characters, called a salt, and then hashed over and over again, many thousands of times (the salt is unique for each user and prevents any two users with the same password getting the same hash).
An attacker who makes off with a database full of hashes can’t decrypt them, instead they have to crack them one by one with brute force and guesswork.
Nor do we know precisely what details that data included.