James Crisp. Freelance journalist in Brussels.

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EU officials exposed in Ashley Madison hack


EXCLUSIVE: European Union officials used their work email addresses to register with online adultery site Ashley Madison, EurActiv can reveal.

The no-strings sex site, which has the slogan ‘Life is short. Have an affair’, was hacked and 36 million users’ personal data was published by a group calling themselves ‘The Impact Team’.

The revelations will raise questions over potential security breaches through hacking or blackmail. Ashley Madison had guaranteed the data would be kept secret to enable clandestine meet-ups behind partners’ backs before the hack.

A EurActiv investigation found that eight Commission officials – including one Head of Unit – used their workplace “@ec.europa.eu” email addresses to sign up to the Canada-based adultery website.

Three European Parliament workers, including a policy advisor to a major political group, used their “europarl.europa.eu” address to register with the service.

No Council of Ministers or European Central Bank emails showed up in the search of the dumped data. But one from the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign affairs desk, and another from pan-EU financial regulator, the European Securities and Markets Authority, appeared.

Another email address, from the EUFOR rapid reaction force, was also listed in the data dump.

EurActiv has decided not to publish the names of the officials – 13 men and one woman – out of respect for their privacy.

There is no information to suggest that any of the EU staff using their work email to register on the site actually had an affair, or that their account was still actively being used. It is also possible that the addresses were harvested from elsewhere on the Internet, or simply stolen.

But one of them was listed as having paid $82 to the site, which has offered a €332,000 reward for info on the hackers.

Credit cards, addresses and sexual preferences

The stolen data, which is easily available online, includes addresses, credit card details, sexual orientation and what the user is looking for in a sexual partner.

Some of that information could potentially be used by criminal or even terrorist groups to blackmail EU officials.

>>Read: Whole story on EurActiv

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2015 by in Best scoops, Der Tagesspiegel, Journalism, tech and tagged , , , .

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