MP linked to Ashley Madison site ‘victim of prank’
In a post on his website, Fawkes said he had commissioned an IT expert to examine the publication of an email address belonging to Michelle Thomson, MP for Edinburgh West, alongside millions of others which had been used to access the site. Thomson has denied using the site, claiming that an old email address had been harvested by hackers.
Ashley Madison, an online dating agency which provides a forum for married people to have affairs, was hacked by a group calling itself The Impact Team. The hackers said they would publish what they claimed was a database of 37 million members.
The information has reportedly been posted on the Dark Web, described as the “underground of the internet” or the “internet black market”. The Impact team said it had posted names and personal details of some of those signed up to the site, including 1.2 million Britons. British civil servants, international bankers, UN staff and people with emails linked to the Vatican were said to be among those named.
Avid Life Media (ALM), which runs Ashley Madison, has branded the hackers as criminals and said it was investigating the claims “to determine the validity of any information posted online”.
On his blog, Fawkes said: “Following the revelation that an email address belonging to SNP MP Michelle Thomson was used by somebody to sign up to adultery website Ashley Madison, Guido asked a highly trained data monkey – Jeremy Bullock from Centrix Software – to take a forensic look at all the available information related to the account.”
According to Fawkes, among Bullock’s findings were the fact that the email address concerned was “flagged as invalid”. The date of birth was incorrect and Thomson’s nickname “was stated as ‘michsnp’ rather than the usual prosaic variety”.
In addition, there were no credit card transactions recorded for Thomson.
Fawkes concluded: “From the data it seems evident that someone other than Michelle Thomson signed up for the account. Definitely a prank.”