The Ashley Madison Hack Potentially Exposes a Number of Civil Servants as Members

By Tom Pritchard on at

Back when the original batch of hacked Ashley Madison data hit the web a couple of days ago, the first thing someone did was look for UK government emails. As it turns out a lot of accounts belong to civil servants and government officials, and that's already causing a few problems.

The accounts in question belong to 124 civil servants, 92 Ministry of Defence staff, around 50 police officers, 56 NHS workers, 65 local education staff, and 1,716 people working in higher education. It's being referred to as a "serious breach" in government security, because accounts allegedly belong to people in sensitive positions. That includes at least two people who work at the Defence Lab and Technology Laboratory, which researches chemical, biological, and radiological weapons.

It's more than possible that the accounts don't belong to a number of these public servants, as is apparently the case with the account using the email of SNP MP Michelle Thompson, but you can bet these people will be hauled in for questioning. Only a fool would use their work email for a site like Ashley Madison, but you still have to work out how their information ended up in the hands of someone else.

As Tim Loughton, an MP and member of the Home Affairs select committee, said:

"If people in sensitive government positions are using government email addresses to register on such a sensitive website, then clearly it raises serious questions about their judgement, but if, as looks possible, government email accounts in what should be secure departments are this vulnerable to being hacked or impersonated that raises its own serious security issues. What more serious or malicious means could people be using them for? This is something the committee needs to have a look at."

It's another example of how bad the Ashley Madison hack really is, which is something to think about if you still feel that releasing all that user data was somehow justifiable. [The Telegraph]