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A police captain took his own life days after his official email address was found among the massive data leak from cheating website Ashley Madison. The 25-year veteran of the City of San Antonio police department was one of three officials who saw their email addresses leaked as part of the huge information dump, though it remains unclear whether the man's suicide was directly linked to the Ashley Madison leak.
IBTimes UK has confirmed that the officer's email address was listed among the millions. However, as Ashley Madison doesn't require users to verify email addresses, it is impossible to say who used the address for certain. The suicide was first reported by the San Antonio Express News which doesn't identify the person in question and said it "wasn't clear whether his death had anything to do with the leak".
Hackers known as the Impact Team released the private details of over 36 million customers of the cheating website on Sunday, 16 August. In subsequent days the private details of millions of people were publicised around the world including details of how much they paid to subscribe to the website and even their sexual fantasies.
According to data from the leaked Ashley Madison customer database, there are 99,157 accounts located in the City of San Antonio in Texas which has a population of 1.4 million, making it the 14th biggest city in the world in terms of accounts on the affairs website. Three of those accounts had official government email addresses (@sanantonio.gov). Two of those accounts are said to be linked to members of the San Antonia police department (a detective and the captain who died by suicide), while the third email address is said to have belonged to a former city employee.
A statement from city officials said because Ashley Madison doesn't verify email addresses it "cannot confirm whether these addresses were legitimately used to access the site." The statement goes on to say: "The City does use internet filters to block access to various websites, including the Ashley Madison site, which has been blocked for some time from City employees."
The fallout from the Ashley Madison leak continues with the hackers posting a second data dump on Friday which contains a huge amount of private emails from the site's co-founder Noel Biderman.
In their first interview, the hackers told Motherboard they still had a huge amount of data which was yet to be released, including 300GB of employee emails and documents from Avid Life Media's internal network. It said that while it won't be publishing most employee emails, it may decide to publish those belonging to other executives.
Even more worrying for customers of the cheating website, the hackers say they have "tens of thousands of Ashley Madison user pictures [and] some Ashley Madison user chats and messages". The hackers said that one third of the images were pictures of customers' penises and it wouldn't be publishing these.
The identity of the hackers remains a mystery, but Avid Life Media (ALM), the parent company of Ashley Madison, believes that at least one of the hackers has had access to its systems previously, though not as a permanent employee. In their interview with Motherboard, the hackers compared ALM to "drug dealers abusing addicts" and said it published the private customer data to stop the next 60 million people from signing up to the website.
When asked if they were planning to attack any other websites, the hackers warned that it was not only companies that were at risk: "Any companies that make 100s of millions profiting off pain of others, secrets, and lies. Maybe corrupt politicians. If we do, it will be a long time, but it will be total."
The Samaritans provides a free support service for those who need to talk to someone. It can be contacted through Samaritans.org or on 08457 90 90 90, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call charges apply.