Ashley Madison hacker could be posting on Twitter as 'Thadeus Zu', researcher claims

Twitter account holder has said that he has been wrongly accused

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 27 August 2015 17:55 BST
The Ashley Madison website displayed on a smartphone (Reuters)
The Ashley Madison website displayed on a smartphone (Reuters) (Reuters)

A security researcher says he may have found the person behind the huge Ashley Madison hack, pointing the finger at a prolific Twitter user going by the name of “ Thadeus Zu”.

Expert Brian Krebs says that information on Twitter and from the past Tweets suggests that he was involved in the hack. But the account holder has already tweeted to say he is being wrongly accused, tweeting that “They're eyeballing the wrong dude here, man”.

Krebs claims that “Zu” has previously tweeted that he has hacked government sites. Repeatedly, according to Krebs, he has tweeted about breaking into sites and playing AC/DC songs — foreshadowing the fact that when Ashley Madison was hacked, the group’s song Thunderstruck was made to play out of the company’s computers.

He also appeared to tweet links to the huge data dumps from the hacks, before they were picked up by the mainstream media, according to Krebs. Krebs said his initial interest in the account had come about because it posted a link to Ashley Madison source data soon after it was released.

From picking through “Zu’s” Twitter feed, Krebs speculates that he lives in Australia, may have been married, and regularly carried out conversations on the site though didn’t actually tag the people he was conversing with. But Krebs points out that all of the biographical information shown on the Twitter feed could just as easily be an attempt to intentionally throw people off.

“Thadeus Zu — whoever and wherever he is in real life — may not have been directly involved in the Ashley Madison hack; he claims in several tweets that he was not part of the hack, but then in countless tweets he uses the royal “We” when discussing the actions and motivations of the Impact Team,” writes Krebs.

“But one thing is clear: If Zu wasn’t involved in the hack, he almost certainly knows who was.”

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