Avid Life Media is offering a CA$500,000 (around US$379,000) bounty for information on the hackers behind its massive security breach, which Toronto police now say could have resulted in two suicides. As reported by the BBC and Reuters, police acting staff superintendent Bryce Evans announced the bounty at a press conference this morning. Evans also said that the police had two unconfirmed reports of suicides tied to the leak of customers' account data, without giving more details.
"Today I can confirm that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database," said Evans, according to the BBC. He called the hack "one of the largest data breaches in the world" and "very unique on its own," due to its scope and the personal nature of the data.
Avid Life Media later confirmed the news in a statement. "As [Toronto Police Services] indicated at today’s press event, the investigation is progressing in a 'positive direction,' but more help is needed from the outside," wrote a spokesperson. "In the very best interest of our customers, who have been affected by this malicious act, we are firmly committed to fully assisting these law enforcement and investigative authorities, without reserve."
Police say they have unconfirmed reports of two suicides after user data leaked
Evans didn't elaborate on the reports of suicide. One potentially Ashley Madison-related death was reported late last week in San Antonio, Texas, where three city employees' email addresses were found in the list of accounts. It's unclear, however, whether the employee's death was connected to the leaked information. Since many of Ashley Madison's email addresses weren't validated, it's also not clear whether the accounts actually belonged to the employees in question.
Canada-based Avid Life Media has already asked potential informants to come forward, albeit without mention of a reward. "While we are confident that the authorities will identify and prosecute each of [the hackers] to the fullest extent of the law, we also know there are individuals out there who can help to make this happen faster," wrote social media director Anthony Macri on August 18th, asking "anyone with information that can lead to the identification, arrest and conviction of these criminals" to email the company.
Update August 24th, 5:15PM ET: Added statement from Avid Life Media.
Correction: The Avid Life Media statement was originally attributed to an outside spokesperson.