by Sam Spence
Charleston and South Carolina government email domain names are contained in a massive database dump reportedly stolen from extramarital matchmaking service Ashley Madison, according to a list posted online Tuesday night.
Unnamed groups are said to have publicly released information tied to as many as 37 million email addresses and years of credit card transactions made over the service, whose tagline is "Life is short. Have an affair." Details of how much and exactly what information was released, if any, are still being confirmed. In July, a group called The Impact Team demanded that Ashley Madison take down its website or risk the records' disclosure.
(South Carolina political watchers will remember that Ashley Madison was the company that took out a billboard on I-26 "endorsing" Mark Sanford's return to Congress in 2013.)
One prominent security analyst says he's becoming more convinced of the authenticity of the data dump totaling nearly 10 gigabytes in size. Some signs also point to the information being obtained by someone with legitimate access to the company's internal networks.
Of course, the internet is hard at work combing through the data contained in the haul, but at this point it's still difficult for the non-technical internet person to access the information.
The fallout from any confirmed breach containing personally identifiable information for millions of people associated with Ashley Madison is hard to fathom at this point. Full member records may also include real names, height, weight, date of birth, and more. From raised eyebrows, to very personal reckoning, to potential security concerns, there's a lot left to unfold.
An unconfirmed analysis of the aggregate data lists the frequency with which .gov and .mil domain names were found in the dump was posted online Tuesday night. A simple search turns up several South Carolina state-, local-, and military-affiliated domain names, including one from charleston-sc.gov. In all, more than 15,000 government and military emails are reportedly included.
It's important to note that the list has not been independently confirmed and that a domain appearing on the list does not mean the owner of an email at that domain used it to sign up for the site since Ashley Madison reportedly only verified information for paid users of the site.
Here's an example of what we found in the initial list:
charleston.af.mil x 4
charleston-sc.gov x 1
dhec.sc.gov x 1
ed.sc.gov x 1
greenwoodsc.gov x 2
grucharleston.uscg.mil x 2
jaspercountysc.gov x 1
nesucharleston.uscg.mil x 1
sc.gov x 1
spawar.navy.mil x 5