Ashley Madison

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 08/24/15 – 6:54 PM PDT |

Public agencies across Southern California have launched investigations into whether their employees secretly accessed adultery website Ashley Madison after hackers leaked hundreds of government e-mail addresses plundered from the site.

The news comes in the wake of report last week by The Associated Press that hundreds of federal government employees, including some with sensitive jobs in the White House, used their work e-mail accounts to access and pay membership fees to the Canadian-based Ashley Madison, which uses the trademarked slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.”

The hacked data also included nearly 50 state government e-mail addresses.

Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency, said Monday that any misuse of state resources is a concern and is taken seriously and investigated accordingly.

“All potential breaches are investigated, and state entities who have potentially been compromised are notified as a normal course of business through the chief information security officer for the state of California,” Gledhill said in a statement.

The group of hackers identifying themselves as the Impact Team also released 19 e-mail addresses from Los Angeles County, 27 from the city of Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Police Department, and some from the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to the AP.

Officials in San Bernardino and Riverside counties confirmed investigations had been launched in both jurisdictions.

“In light of recent reports of leaked e-mail information, the county is investigating any possible inappropriate use of county e-mail and Internet access,” San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said Monday. “Because this is an active, ongoing matter, the county cannot be more specific at this time.”

Riverside County has also taken action to see if employees used their county e-mail accounts to access Ashley Madison, said Deputy County Executive Officer Ivan Chand.

“Any investigation findings will be a personnel matter, and we do not comment on personnel matters,” Chand said.

Los Angeles County officials are reviewing whether county resources were improperly used. County spokesman Joel Sappell said county interim CEO Sachi Hamai referred the matter to the Auditor-Controller’s Office last week to review whether county resources were improperly used.

About 20 L.A. County e-mail addresses appeared among the data breach, according to Pastebin, a source used by hackers to disseminate the data. The e-mail addresses came from the Department of Public Works, Public Defender’s Office, Probation Department and others.

To read expanded article, click here.