Indians among top users of infidelity website Ashley Madison

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2015 13:43 IST
Cheating spouses website has been hacked.

From Jodhpur to Aizawl, Leh to Nagercoil, thousands of Indians have registered on a controversial infidelity website that beckons those seeking a thrill outside marriage with the tagline 'Life is short. Have an affair'.

Based on leaked user data of the Ashley Madison website, New Delhi has emerged as the adultery 'capital' of India with 38,652 users. Not far behind is Mumbai (33,036), followed by Chennai (16,434) and Kolkata (11,807).

While the website's users worldwide are mostly men, there are a substantial number of women subscribers in India, as shown by a geographical distribution map created by Spanish digital agency Tecnilógica - reflecting changing attitudes towards relationships across India.

The India map shows users across hundreds of towns, reflecting the proliferating spread of internet infrastructure.

Besides the metros, several state capitals have users in the thousands - Hyderabad has 12,825, Bengaluru 11,561, Ahmedabad 7,009, Chandigarh 2,918, Jaipur 5,045, Lucknow 3,885 and Patna 2,524.

Read: Hackers release data from cheating website Ashley Madison

The data, hacked by a group called the Impact Team and published on the 'dark web', is said to include personal data - including credit card details, email addresses and, in some cases, sexual preference - of 37 million users, most of them from western Europe and the United States.

But there are also large number of users in India, Latin America, China, Australia and South Africa. Of the 37 million users, 1.2 million are said to be based in Britain, including scientists, government employees, police officers and health professionals. After the leak, the first divorce cases have been reported here.

As many named in the data leak are contemplating legal action in the US and UK, there were reports that the website may have bought bulk email addresses from marketing companies to make it appear that their membership was far larger than reality.

The hackers reportedly stole the data in July and threatened to make it public unless the website was taken down. They claimed they acted because the company failed to delete the details of users who had paid to have their profiles erased.

Canada-based Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, has described the publication of hacked data as an "act of criminality".

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