State government addresses turn up in Ashley Madison hack

By Mark Fitton
Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — It would appear a few people in Illinois state government has been coveting more than their office mate’s stapler.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed Monday the administration is looking into reports that a half-dozen state government email accounts have shown up in hackers’ public data dumps from the Ashley Madison website.

The site purports to help married people looking for dalliances find willing partners.

“Of the six email addresses connected to the data breach, four are associated with people who no longer work for the state,” said Catherine Kelly, Rauner’s press secretary.

“The administration has started an investigation to see if any agency policies were violated, and the agencies will take appropriate action,” Kelly said in an email. “State agencies discourage using state emails for non-governmental purposes.”

The Chicago Tribune also reported similar investigations are going on within Lake and Cook county governments.

Hackers stole a huge amount of data from the online dating site, the advertising for which includes the phrase, “Life is short. Have an affair.”

While credit card and other payment information were apparently taken, the hackers or third parties also have put up searchable databases that people can use to check to see if their — or some other people’s — email address were included in Ashley Madison’s network.

Ashley Madison site owners claimed nearly 40 million members last month, but Wired.com has reported that part of the hackers’ motiviation may have been that they considered the site, at best, misleading.

Wired reported some cybersecurity experts saying the data suggests 40 million members is likely an exaggeration, and the members were reportedly overwhelmingly male.

Additionally, Wired reported on accusations that many of the female profiles on the site were faked.

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