Your JoeDog was recently asked about the Ashley-Madison email list. Could he use his nerd-powers to find a particular email address?
“Yeah, sure, but that data dump is huge, I’ll need some time.”
Before he could act, Your JoeDog’s IM was filled with curse words. His contact found the address she was looking for in a website that lets you to search the Ashley-Madison data.
“Okay, but let’s see what’s in the actual data.”
Getting your hands on that data is no easy task. As soon as it’s posted, it’s deleted because no hosting company wants it on its severs. Pastebin is Your JoeDog’s first stop for this sort of thing. An “ashley-madison” search returns many links that point to deleted data. Strike one.
Unable to find it on pastebin, he turned to the gray web, specifically Kickass Torrents. There he found the data available for download … all 23 gigs of it. Can you imagine trying to download 23 gigs over torrent? That’s not going to happen.
Fortunately, Torrent allows you to look at the contents within the zip file. Your JoeDog found a list of files with names like member_email.dump.gz If he could pull down just the parts he wanted, then the download would be quite manageable.
He searched for ‘member_email.dump.gz’ and hit pay dirt. A site had the files listed on Torrent along with their PGP signatures for verification. The hackers posted the verification so you could ensure the files came from them.
As it turns out, the email address she found on that website was NOT in the actual Ashley-Madison data. It was a scam.
Be careful out there. The internets are a scam machine. Sites like the one she used are filled with spammer’s email lists in the hope of extracting payment for scrubbing addresses from the database. People are also using the data to extort money. “Hey, I found your email address in the Ashley-Madison dump. Be a shame if your wife found out.”
In order to determine with certainty if an email address is in the Ashley-Madison database, you will need a quality nerd. But before you find that nerd, ask yourself this: do you really want to know?
NOTE: Even if an email address and a credit card is in the database, there’s still no guarantee the person used that site. Accounts could be opened with stolen cards. Again, Your JoeDog urges caution. Do you really want to confront your significant other only to learn they were the victim of theft? Be careful out there.