Subscribers of adulterous dating website Ashley Madison were left hot under the collar after hackers leaked the details 32 million suspected cheating partners. The usernames, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and email addresses were dumped on the dark web when hacking squad the Impact Team released 10 gigabytes of data. Included in the huge cache were more than 2,000 British public sector workers and approximately 10,000 email addresses belonging to US government workers.
Michelle Thomson, newly elected SNP MP for Edinburgh West, said her email was used to set up an Ashley Madison account without her knowledge, suggesting it might have been the work of someone aiming to smear her name.
"Along with potentially millions of others, an out-of-use email address seems to have been harvested by hackers. I am not aware of or in contact with either Avid Life or Ashley Madison and look forward to finding out more about what has actually happened," Thomson said.
British writer and wife of television personality Piers Morgan, Celia Walden, was also found to have registered with the site, but explained she signed up as part of her research to prepare an interview with its founder, Noel Biderman.
The official parliamentary email address of Israeli Knesset member Taleb Abu Arar also appeared, but the politician was quick to rebut claims he had used the website. "[A hacker] signed up my email in order to damage my good name, and a complaint has been filed against the site, and the site which exposed the source of the registration," he said.
While the leak could prove embarrassing for subscribers, email addresses linked to an account do not mean that person has used the dating site. Users are able to sign up to the site without responding to an email verification, meaning anyone's email address could have been used to create an account.
UK public sector email addresses used on the site have been broken down into the following categories: education: ac.uk (1,716); government: gov.uk (124); MoD: mod.uk (92), local education authorities and schools: sch.uk (65); National Health Service: nhs.uk (56); police force; and police.uk (less than 50).
US reality TV star Josh Duggar was found to have purchased a $250 "affair guarantee" that promised him money back if he didn't "have an affair within three months." Eyebrows have also been raised by the email addresses based in Saudi Arabia, where adultery carries a death penalty.