The personal information of hundreds of Australian Government employees, including from the departments of defence and foreign affairs, have been exposed in the giant cache of data which hackers have sourced from the Ashley Madison dating service.
The hack, by a group calling itself Impact Team, has raised serious questions about security with experts warning it could expose government employees as well as private individuals to blackmail and extortion. The data includes credit card details, email accounts and home addresses.
The files are said to include the email accounts of at least 800 government employees, both federal and state, who use the service offering members the ability to arrange affairs.
Accounts linked to staff from the federal departments of health, education and environment, from the ABC, and from the New South Wales Attorney-General's Department were included, as were many from defence and foreign affairs.
There were also dozens of accounts bearing email addresses purported to be associated with police officers from NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, including a senior officer.
The Queensland Government said it was investigating how at least 44 public service email addresses appeared in the data.
Some of the individuals included in the files claimed they had been victims of identity fraud. One Melbourne man said his information had been stolen months ago.
"We cancel our cards every three weeks - that is the advice from the banks," he said.
In Britain, scientists in a top-secret defence laboratory and a female MP were among hundreds of public servants whose personal details have been published online as alleged users of the website.
Among the 1.2 million British users are 124 civil servants, 92 Ministry of Defence staff, about 50 police officers, 56 National Health Service workers, 65 local education and school staff and 1716 people at universities and further education colleges.
Michelle Thomson, a newly elected Scottish National MP, also found her details had been published, but said a hacker had used an old email address of hers to access the site, and she had never visited the website herself.
Outrage at radio stunt
Radio listeners aren't happy that a Sydney woman was told live on air that her husband is registered with Ashley Madison - a website for casual affairs.
Nova radio hosts Fitzy and Wippa offered to find out if the suspected person was registered with Ashley Madison by checking their email address against the data released by hackers this week.
Jo (name changed) from Blacktown took them up on the offer. "We're putting him into this website right now and his details have revealed that he's actually on the website, Jo," said Fitzy.
"Are you freaking kidding me?" Jo asked. "Yeah, no ..." stammered Fitzy.
Listeners have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage. "I for one do not want to listen to you two destroy someone's life on air. It's not funny. It's horrible," tweeted The Sydney Rant. Alexander Rose-Innes tweeted: "You guys are a shameless disgrace."
After Jo hung up, Wippa said: "Oh I don't know if we should have done that. That hasn't left me with a good feeling." Fitzy said: "I'm sorry that that happened, Jo. I feel a bit bad."
- Telegraph Group Ltd, AAP