15,000-Plus Government Users Among Exposed Ashley Madison Members

Using a dating website isn't a crime, even one like Ashley Madison, but more than 15,000 military and government employees will have at least some explaining to do.

by / August 19, 2015
Jessica Mulholland / via ashleymadison.com

Thousands of government and military employees may have some explaining to do after their names turned up in user data stolen from marital affair concierge service Ashley Madison.

The website’s user data was hacked in July by a group called Impact Team, and that data was released on Aug. 18 when Ashley Madison parent company Avid Life Media failed to comply with the group’s demand to take down the site.

Among the 32 million users in the released list – which includes names, addresses, phone numbers, transaction details and email addresses (no credit card numbers) – are more than 15,000 registered military and government email address, The Hill reported

This is how the hackers introduced the release of data:

Twitter user @t0x0pg released the results of one database search that looked for .mil and .gov email addresses. The U.S. Army tops the government list, with 6,788 hits. Though the database contains many accounts with fake personal information, it seems unlikely that anyone would manufacture an email suffix like cvn74.navy.mil. 

Of note, however is one British parliamentarian whose email address was included on the list -- but said it had been stolen and used without her knowledge, Reuters reported.

The following is a list of the top 10 most popular branches of government for infidelity, including the organization’s name, the email domain referenced by the search, the number of total members of that organization and the number of hits found in the released Ashley Madison (AM) database.

  1. U.S. Army (us.army.mil) – 541,291 enlisted and officers, 6,788 AM users
  2. U.S. Navy (navy.mil) – 317,237 enlisted and officers, 1,665 AM users
  3. U.S. Marine Corps (usmc.mil) -- 195,338 enlisted and officers, 809 AM users
  4. More U.S. military (mail.mil) -- 206 AM users
  5. U.S. Air Force (gimail.af.mil) -- 333,772 enlisted and officers, 127 AM users
  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (va.gov) -- 312,841 employees, 104 AM users
  7. Federal Bureau of Prisons (bop.gov) -- 36,849 employees, 88 AM users
  8. State of Kentucky (ky.gov) -- 73 AM users
  9. U.S. Navy Medicine (med.navy.mil) -- 62 AM users
  10. More U.S. Army (usarmy.mil) -- 55 users

Though 7,000 may sound like a lot of unfaithful U.S. Army soldiers, it’s only about 1 percent of the group. 

Why Kentucky email addresses rate so high on the list is unclear, and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office did not respond to requests for comment by press time. 

Though not making the top 10, also notable on the list is whitehouse.gov, with 44 registered users.

Though the 9.7 gigabyte file was initially available by accessing a .onion address on the Dark Web, the data is now searchable online, and CNN Money has independently verified that at least one tool returns accurate results. The danger of being exposed, the news outlet reports, is very real.