Police: Ashley Madison hack might have led to suicides

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TORONTO (AP) — The hack of the cheating website Ashley Madison has triggered extortion crimes and led to two unconfirmed reports of suicides, Canadian police said Monday.

The company behind Ashley Madison is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of members of a group that hacked the site.

Hackers last week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website, a month after a break-in at Ashley Madison's parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website, whose slogan is, "Life is short. Have an affair," is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

Toronto Police acting staff-Supt. Bryce Evans said the hack is having an "enormous social and economic fallout."

"This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world," Evans said. "This is affecting all of us. The social impact behind this leak, we're talking about families, we're talking about children, we're talking about wives, their male partners."

The hackers who took responsibility for the break-in had accused the website's owners of deceit and incompetence, and said the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site. The hackers referred to themselves as the Impact Team.

Evans said the hackers released the entire Ashley Madison client list, which claims to have more than 30 million users worldwide. He said the hackers also sent a taunting message to the company CEO and released his emails.

Evans said there are confirmed cases of criminals attempting to extort Ashley Madison clients by threatening to expose them unless payment is received.

The police official did not offer further details of the unconfirmed suicides. He also said hate crimes may be connected to the hack but did not provide details.

Evans addressed the hackers directly, saying their actions are "illegal and will not be tolerated."

"This is your wake-up call," he said. A representative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attended the news conference.

For photos of the Ashley Madison website, click through the gallery below.

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Police: Ashley Madison hack might have led to suicides
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A detail of the Ashley Madison website on August 19, 2015 in London, England. Hackers who stole customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com dumped 9.7 gigabytes of data to the dark web on Tuesday fulfilling a threat to release sensitive information including account details, log-ins and credit card details, if Avid Life Media, the owner of the website didn't take Ashley Madison.com offline permanently. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A detail of the Ashley Madison website on August 19, 2015 in London, England. Hackers who stole customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com dumped 9.7 gigabytes of data to the dark web on Tuesday fulfilling a threat to release sensitive information including account details, log-ins and credit card details, if Avid Life Media, the owner of the website didn't take Ashley Madison.com offline permanently. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: In this photo illustration, a man visits the Ashley Madison website on August 19, 2015 in London, England. Hackers who stole customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com dumped 9.7 gigabytes of data to the dark web on Tuesday fulfilling a threat to release sensitive information including account details, log-ins and credit card details, if Avid Life Media, the owner of the website didn't take Ashley Madison.com offline permanently. (Photo illustration by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Ashley Madison's International Affairs Director Christoph Kraemer speaks during a press conference in Seoul on April 14, 2015. The global adultery hook-up site Ashley Madison has come back to business in South Korea with vengeance after the country's Constitutional Court struck down a 65-year-old adultery law. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at a dating site on his computer in Washington,DC on February 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO/EVA HAMBACH (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo illustration taken on August 20, 2013 shows the homepage of the Ashley Madison dating website displayed on a laptop in Hong Kong. The founder of a dating service promoting adultery is setting his sights on China's cheating hearts after a controversial launch in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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