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Hackers Think a Dark Web 'Zine Is the Secret to $376K Ashley Madison Bounty

The site where the data was originally dumped is being targeted.

Joseph Cox

Joseph Cox

Screenshot of the Quantum Magazine site.

Earlier this week, the company behind extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison offered a $376,000 USD bounty (or $500,000 CAD) to anyone providing information that "leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution" of The Impact Team, who are allegedly behind the site's colossal data breach.

Now, opportunistic hackers are apparently digging around the site that originally hosted the stolen data, in an attempt to discover any information that might result in a serious payday.

The site, called Quantum Magazine, is a recently launched hacker zine on the dark web. Its owner claims to have no direct affiliation with The Impact Team, however.

"There's been an upswing in people trying to probe my servers with the bounty that was placed for Impact Team," the owner, who goes by the handle Quantum7765, told Motherboard in an encrypted email.

Some hackers have been doing this with fairly simply techniques, such as adding "server-status" to the end of the dark web URL. This is one of the tricks that a researcher used to unmask the server locations of misconfigured hidden services back in June. Some hackers have also used automated vulnerability scanners on the site, trying to pin down an avenue of attack.

Quantum7765 reported he has been receiving old exploit requests too. One example was CVE-2010-2266, which can allow an attacker to crash the site. Hackers have also been brute force searching for hidden files or folders, Quantum7765 said. Those included "/stuff/ashley-madison-dump-4.torrent," "/Private," and "/hidden".

On top of this, the hidden service operator has received suspicious emails, asking him to host PDFs of the stolen data, apparently to make it easier for members of the public to read.

"$500,000 CAD is a lot of money. And as my server has been close to all of whats been going on it seems as good a place as any to start I think," Quantum7765 said. "I suspect they hope to find a secret stash of e-mails from Impact Team, a 4th torrent, a file that reveals that I'm secretly Impact Team (I'm not), or the identity of someone in Impact Team. Anything that might bring them closer to the cash."

But Quantum7765 was adamant that nothing is hidden on his site.

"It's just wasting both their time and mine having to deal with it."