An 'insider' has told Sky News that the Ashley Madison hackers could be selling off their acquired data, including personal names and addresses of the site's clients, to the highest bidder who could publish the information on the 'Deep Web,' where information is largely unsearchable.
Over 37 million people have subscribed to the website, whose tagline reads: "Life is too short. Have an affair."
"Vinnie" who is reportedly connected to the hacking community, said that while the scale of the data amassed by the hackers is impressive, they are unlikely to leak sensitive information about the site's users including nude pictures, credit card details and sexual fantasies.
"They claim that they are going to give all the information out, especially credit card details and all the other 'links' and the 'hashes'.
"I don’t think they're going to release them. They have a better chance of selling on to someone else or to a 'Blackcat Market' on the 'Deep Web'. They’ll profit from this in a big way, especially with the size of this database."
Cyber security expert Stuart Hyde, a faculty member of the Global Institute of Cyber, Intelligence & Security (GICIS), explained to The Huffington Post that data sold to a buyer using the Dark Web, could still be traceable.
"It's (the Dark Web) that bit of the internet that you can't Google, the dark hidden parts associated with criminality.
"It's not impossible to identify where it is, but you can track it down and anyone that is using it will leave a trace and it could open up an investigation.
"Any evidence of possessing or using the data in this way will put them at risk of prosecution."
So far the leaked data has included documents about the site's owners Avid Life Media (ALM), and a few credit card details.
In a statement released yesterday, ALM acknowledged that the hack had taken place and claimed to have 'secured' the hackers' access points.
It also announced that its 'delete feature' giving users the opportunity to erase their details from the site, will soon be available as a free option.
This followed accusations from the hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, detailing how the service never fully gets rid of users' details.
"Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie.
“Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
The hackers' statement continues:
“Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion.
“Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver. We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people.”