Secrets exposed after website for cheating spouses hacked

Ashley Madison is a website that connects married people who want to cheat, and not get caught.

And now a lot of secrets are out because they were exposed by hackers.

The hack exposed around 32 million names, emails and physical addresses of people signed up for Ashley Madison.

The website Ashley Madison brazenly matches people seeking extramarital affairs.

Some of the names and emails are fictitious, but still, millions of marriages could be in peril as spouses learn what that late night shopping has really been about.

"They weren't counting on a hacker to obtain that data," said Kim Zetter the senior writer at Wired magazine who first revealed the hack.

Hackers publish Ashley Madison data

Zetter points out another problem. Around 15,000 emails trace to U.S. Government accounts including in the State Department and Justice Department and to top secret defense contractors including Raytheon.

"If those are legitimate, if those activities can be directly matched with real people in government and people who might hold sensitive office, that creates some potential for blackmail," said Zetter.

Despite the hack the Ashley Madison website has continued to operate.

The company says it has closed the unauthorized access points and that the hackers are criminals, "appointing themselves" as "moral judge, juror and executioner."

The hackers who call themselves the "Impact Team" claim they are just exposing security flaws in a site offering a, "100 percent discrete service."

Police in Canada and the FBI are investigating the hack. Security experts call this more proof that everyone's vulnerable. This was a wide-scale release of personal details from a website selling privacy itself.

  • Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.