Ashley Madison website hack: Australia's worst offenders

Natasha Christian and Gus Bruno

Researchers have identified the names, emails, numbers of Australian Ashley Madison accounts and their oft-particularly incriminating profile descriptions and fetishes.

And they've been able to draw some interesting conclusions according to information exposed in the massive data dump that has 37 million people exposed to a potentially damaging breach of privacy.


Nation Master Data Researcher Luke Metcalfe has spent the last few days analysing the hack details.

He said it didn’t take him long to find some pretty interesting stuff.

Based on the number of unique accounts, Western Australia has the highest rate per capita of Ashley Madison users in the country who have registered with the website using a credit card.

Victoria boasts the second highest rate, closely followed by Queensland, NSW/ACT, then South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

More than 700 Australian government email addresses (.gov.au) have been mined from the Ashley Madison hack database that goes back as far as 2008.

The 737 emails that end in the suffix can include emails of police, state justice departments, councils, emergency services, and university or military emails.

While Ashley Madison does not require users to confirm their email addresses when they register, meaning it may be possible to use a fake email address, Metcalfe trawled through the database to find details of all those who registered with a credit card to access the website's premium services.

According to Metcalfe's data, the most popular name associated with Ashley Madison accounts was Michael, with 344,714 registered accounts worldwide.

John (290211) was the second most registered name, followed by David (267,719), Robert (238,443), James (221,472), William (154,211), Mark (143,439), Richard (128,057), Thomas (124,731) and Christopher (124,299).

The most popular women's names were Jamie (8128), Kelly (7908), Jean (6832), Tracy (4872), Robin (4616) and Shannon (4303) - although it must be noted that these names are commonly given to men as well.

In Australia, the most common names for males were David, Michael, John, Andrew, Peter and Paul.

Metcalfe said the data made it quite clear that people who lived in ‘trendier’ or ‘happening’ suburbs were more likely to use the affair assistance site.

“I found the places where people are more likely to meet up,” he said.

“They might not be happy in their marriage but they live in a funkier place where they’re able to meet more people”.

Queensland’s New Farm, South Melbourne, West Perth and Sydney’s Manly all appeared high on the list of Ashley Madison users.

In Brisbane alone 1 in 50 people had an account.

“A lot of them are popular centres where people meet - Manly, Pyrmont, Balmain, St Kilda, Docklands, New Farm. Every CBD is there,” Metcalfe said.

“The data made sense, it wasn’t obscured in any way... it was easy to mine.

“There is a definite trend in the data, a high percentage of users are the kind of people that live in a city centre.

“They’re more likely to be travellers and want convenience and to meet more people”.

Metcalfe said he initially used the data to see how many of his contacts were using the site.

“I wanted to see how many friends were on there, I found several Internet entrepreneurs, a couple of programmers, an academic, a few SEO guys… Mostly unmarried men.

He even said one of his friends contacted him to out himself as a registered user of Ashley Madison but said he had nothing to hide.

"I'm still waiting for my blackmail request so I can forward it to the AFP," his friend told him.

"I have nothing to be blackmailed about so I'd like to make the blackmail public really”

Luke Metcalfe contacted his friends after finding their names on the Ashley Madison hack database. Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Metcalfe also found it interesting that people had used their work email to sign up to the site.

135 users were registered to Education Queensland domains while 131 were defence employees.

11 came from the NSW Ambulance service and 12 came from NSW police.

19 came from Qantas and 20 were linked to National Australia Bank.

11 Queensland Health employees were also using their work email to sign up.

While he said it was unlikely in most cases, Metcalfe acknowledged there were people who had legitimate reasons for using a work account to access Ashley Madison for professional reasons.



Within the database is also personal and incriminating information about Australian user profiles.

"I am a professional person who appreciates discretion. Not being satisfied at home, so I am looking & experiencing elsewhere. Like to have a good time & ensure she does too. Would like to meet some like minded, clean & fun loving woman," reads one man's profile.

"Fit and fun. Young professional looking for discrete, passionate, exciting, wild and short term spontaneous relationship," reads another.

As for people on the list Metcalfe urged them to talk to their partners before it got out.

“It’s going to get out and your partner is going to find out,” he said.

“Keep in mind what you do online can come back to get you”.

As for partners who have spotted their loved ones on the list, Metcalfe said not jump to conclusions instantly.

“They may have just been curious or could have done it just for a laugh,” he said.

“It also doesn’t tell you whether someone has actually hooked up…

However he said it was likely more and more people would be exposed in data breaches in the future.

“I think there will be a lot more of this, this is just the beginning,” he said.

It comes as a second, larger release of data was exposed by Impact Team hackers who included email messages linked to Noel Biderman, the site's founder and chief executive officer of its parent company Avid Life Media.

"Hey Noel, you can admit it's real now," the hackers said in a message.

Hackers who identify themselves as the Impact Team left a note for Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman, who has been continually denying the hack is real.

Despite the massive breach of privacy and negativity surrounding the cyber attack, Mark Brooks, CEO of Internet dating consultancy Courtland Brooks, said demand for Ashley Madison's services remain steady.

"I would have thought this would be a death knell for that company because their entire business basis is privacy," Brooks said.

"It just goes to say that all press is good press...The awareness of the brand is through the roof."

The list of files included in the new data dump reveals a connection to Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison's parent company.


NationMaster.Com offers complete suburb profiles to property buyers, bringing all the info in one place.