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AshleyMadison personal user data exposed online

The personal data of more than a million users of the adultery website AshleyMadison.com have been leaked online by morality conscious hackers.

The leaked data, totalling 9.7Gb of information, contains email addresses, member account information as well as credit card details.

The hacking group behind the attack, known as the Impact Team, previously made it known that it was in possession of sensitive information of some 37 million users of the website that goes by the slogan, "Life is short. Have an affair".

The Impact Team threatened to publish the data unless the website’s owner, Avid Life Media, took the website down, which did not happen.

Avid Life was not able to immediately confirm whether the data published on the dark web was real.

"These are illegitimate acts that have real consequences for innocent citizens who are simply going about their daily lives," the company said in a statement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the theft, alongside the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local police.

Unlike other high-profile hacking attacks, the perpetrators of the AshleyMadison incident appear not to have been motivated by financial profit.

"These guys want as much notoriety as possible. This isn't cyber terrorism. It's cyber vigilantism," said Ajay K. Sood, General Manager for Canada of cyber security firm FireEye.

Avid Life has said it is convinced the hackers were formerly connected to the company.

The data dump was massive, according to Troy Hunt, a Microsoft security expert, who said more than one million unique email addresses were attached to payment records.

Toronto-based cybersecurity firm Cycura, which was hired by Avid Life to investigate the attack, said it was not authorized to speak on the matter.

Within hours of the data's appearance, thousands of email addresses from North America and Europe - including many linked to corporations and universities - appeared on other sites as people decrypted the database. It is possible to create an Ashley Madison account using someone else's name and email.

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