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The hackers may already have left one clue about who they are.In an initial message to ALM they wrote: "For a company whose main promise is secrecy, it's like you didn't even try, like you thought you had never pissed anyone off." The comment suggests, perhaps, that someone with a personal beef with the company might be behind the attack.But other files released yesterday include some 73 git repositories exposing what appears to be source code for the Ashley Madison web site and mobile property.Though the content of these will be of little interest to most journalists, they pose a threat to what's left of ALM's business, since other attackers can now study the code for vulnerabilities they could use to exploit and further subvert the site, making it difficult for ALM to ensure continuing customers that their data is secure.The release of source code is also problematic for another reason—it exposes the company's intellectual property to anyone who wants to design a similar business.For a company that had hoped to raise 0 million for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange this fall, that's a potentially big blow."With this second data dump, I believe Impact Team wants to destroy Ashley Madison and Avid Life Media," says Per Thorsheim, a security researcher in Norway who has been analyzing the data. In an interview with Motherboard, the hackers said they have 300 GB of employee emails in their possession, plus tens of thousands of Ashley Madison user pictures as well as user messages."1/3 of pictures are dick pictures and we won't dump," they told Motherboard. Maybe other executives."None of this bodes well for other companies who may engage in practices that hackers don't like.And they published the data via a Tor server, which gives them anonymity as long as they didn't make mistakes.
Maybe corrupt politicians [too]."But before we get ahead of the headlines, let's examine some of the most important lingering questions about Ashley Madison and the hack.
Eriksson wouldn't say how the hackers got in, due to the ongoing investigation, but he noted "there is no indication of any software vulnerability being exploited during this incident."The hackers from Impact Team told Motherboard, "We worked hard to make fully undetectable attack, then got in and found nothing to bypass…. It was definitely a person here that was not an employee but certainly had touched our technical services."Eriksson wouldn't go into detail, but told WIRED that even though there is no evidence that the attackers used a software vulnerability to get in, "all ALM source code is being audited for vulnerabilities and backdoors." He added that "all aspects of their network and server environment are now being thoroughly reviewed in order to determine how they may be hardened further, and the amount and granularity of monitoring is being increased in order to detect and handle any anomaly as soon as possible."With the site's source code and network blueprints already released by the hackers, however, the company is now in a race to find and close vulnerabilities before other attackers can find and exploit them.