At a press conference this morning, the Toronto Police said it was investigating “two unconfirmed reports” of suicides related to the Ashley Madison hack.
At the presser, Toronto Police Superintendent Bryce Evans for Specialised Investigations updated the media on the department’s probe into the Ashley Madison hacks and subsequent data dumps. Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent, is based in Toronto, which is why this is the TO police’s business. According to Evans, as of this morning Toronto Police were investigating two suicides that might be related to the hack. Looking around online, you can pretty quickly find two cases that have been reported. One is a somewhat shady report about a man who took his life in Chicago. The other is a more fully developed story about a police captain in San Antonio.
The hack and subsequent data dumps revealed information about upwards of 37 million accounts. It’s not known how many of those accounts are legitimate because Ashley Madison did not require any kind of email verification.
It’s entirely possible that the traumatic and embarrassing revelations related to the the Ashley Madison data dumps could drive some people to suicide, especially as opportunistic extortionists have started demanding Bitcoin in exchange for silence. Still, we should note that there are roughly 40,000 reported suicides in the United States every year, so it’s probably best not to jump to conclusions.
Besides the unsubstantiated suicide reports, Toronto Police lobbed two additional pieces of information during the press conference: First, they confirmed that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000/£316,887 reward for information leading to the bust of the Impact Team hackers behind the data dumps. Then, intriguingly, the department made a plea to hackers to give them information to help the investigation.
Why would a dark web haxxor help the police bust the Impact Team? That seems like the investigator’s subtle acknowledgement that they don’t have much to go on at this point.