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Amid Reports of Suicides, Ashley Madison Offers $500K Reward for Hack Info

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Avid Life Media, the parent company of the extramarital hookup site Ashley Madison, is trying to track down the hackers responsible for releasing private details about millions of its customers.

The company announced today that it is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of the hackers.

The announcement comes as the Toronto Police Service said it is investigating reports of suicides related to the Ashley Madison hack.

Read more: 7 Things You Need to Know About the Ashley Madison Hack — and More!

At a press conference, acting Staff Superintendent Bryce Evans of the Toronto Police Service said the Ashley Madison attack is one of the largest data breaches in the world. He said the attack is unique because of the kind of information released by the hackers (who were operating under the nom de hack Impact Team).

“The Impact Team’s actions … have already sparked spinoffs of crimes and further victimization,” Evans alleged.

“Criminals have already engaged in online scams by claiming to provide access to the leaked database [of user information],” Evans said. “The public needs to be aware that by clicking on these links you are exposing your computers to malware, spyware, adware, and viruses.”

These scammers claim they will delete your information from the leaked collection of Ashley Madison user data — for a price. Evans said other criminals are contacting people and saying that they have been able to track them via Facebook and will share the Ashley Madison data with the victims’ friends, families, and employers if they don’t pay the extortionists 1.05 bitcoins, or about $225.

Police are asking people affected by the Ashley Madison hack to reach out to law enforcement.

Evans also took aim directly at the hackers responsible for the original leaks, saying that the police are working with partners around the world to identify those responsible.

So far, there have been two data dumps involving the Ashley Madison hack: The first one contained user information, while the second appears to include mostly source code for the Ashley Madison site, as well as emails from Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.