Ashley Madison hack: Canadian police to lead 'worldwide' probe as $500,000 reward offered

Avid Life Media is putting up a huge sum for any information leading to 'identification, arrest and prosecution of persons responsible'

The Ashley Madison website displayed on a smartphone (Reuters)
The Ashley Madison website displayed on a smartphone (Reuters)

Canadian police have launched a major investigation to track down the hackers responsible for breaching the adultery website Ashley Madison.

Police said the breach was a matter of online security "worldwide", warned that the hack had already led to a series of "spin-off crimes and further victimisation" by people claiming to provide access to the leaked data.

Toronto Police has set up a bespoke Twitter account to handle the investigation, where anyone with leads or who thinks they are a victim can contact officers. More than 33 million people are thought to be affected.

Acting staff superintendent Bryce Evans said Toronto Police had "a good working relationship" on the matter with the FBI and Homeland Security in the US.

At a press conference in Toronto, officers said the company behind Ashley Madison was offering a $500,000 reward for anyone who could provide information "that leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database".

"This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world and is very unique on its own in that it exposed tens of millions of people's personal information," he said.

During the press conference, Mr Evans said that there were unconfirmed reports of two suicides linked to the Ashley Madison hack.

He also provided further details of what happened when employees of Avid Life Media, the company which owns Ashley Madison, logged in on 12 July, the day of the hack.

Mr Evans said employees were met by a message from the hackers, calling themselves The Impact Team, which was accompanied by music - AC/DC's "Thunderstruck".

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