Hackers are threatening to release real names, addresses and even nude photos of users of affair dating website, Ashley Madison. OR Ashley Madison are leaking the story themselves for a very effective PR stunt.
Regardless, an apparent group called The Impact Team are said to have gained access to 37 million users' details and are threatening to make them public unless the website closes. They also want to see one of its sister websites, Established Men, which promises to connect wealthy "established men" with "young, beautiful women", closed too.
The majority of Ashley Madison's users are from the US and Canada but more than a million Brits could also see their dirty laundry aired if the hackers go ahead, reports the Mirror.
Ashley Madison, whose motto is "life is short, have an affair", calls its services "100% discreet".
The hackers said in a statement: 'Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.'
Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison's chief executive, said that the site was working 'working diligently and feverishly' to get its users information removed.
'We're not denying this happened,' he said. 'Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.'
A spokesperson for website said that Ashley Madison had employed a security team to investigate the incident, and apologised for the 'criminal intrusion into our customers' information'.
She said that the security team 'has now successfully removed all posts related to this incident as well as all personally identifiable information about our users'.
She added: 'Our team of forensics experts and security professionals, in addition to law enforcement, are continuing to investigate this incident and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.
From the editors of cosmopolitan.co.uk