LeakedSource Proprietor Give up Ashley Madison a Month Earlier than 2015 Hack – Krebs on Safety

[This is Part III in a series on research conducted for a recent Hulu documentary on the 2015 hack of marital infidelity website AshleyMadison.com.]

In 2019, a Canadian firm known as Defiant Tech Inc. pleaded responsible to working LeakedSource[.]com, a service that bought entry to billions of passwords and different information uncovered in numerous information breaches. KrebsOnSecurity has realized that the proprietor of Defiant Tech, a 32-year-old Ontario man named Jordan Evan Bloom, was employed in late 2014 as a developer for the marital infidelity web site AshleyMadison.com. Bloom resigned from AshleyMadison citing well being causes in June 2015 — lower than one month earlier than unidentified hackers stole information on 37 million customers — and launched LeakedSource three months later.

Jordan Evan Bloom, posing in entrance of his Lamborghini.

On Jan. 15, 2018, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) charged then 27-year-old Bloom, of Thornhill, Ontario, with promoting stolen private identities on-line by the web site LeakedSource[.]com.

LeakedSource was marketed on plenty of in style cybercrime boards as a service that might assist hackers break into useful or high-profile accounts. LeakedSource additionally tried to move itself off as a authorized, authentic enterprise that was advertising and marketing to safety corporations and professionals.

The RCMP arrested Bloom in December 2017, and stated he made roughly $250,000 promoting hacked information, which included data on 37 million consumer accounts leaked within the 2015 Ashley Madison breach.

Subsequent press releases from the RCMP concerning the LeakedSource investigation omitted any point out of Bloom, and referred to the defendant solely as Defiant Tech. In a legal settlement that’s quintessentially Canadian, the matter was resolved in 2019 after Defiant Tech agreed to plead responsible. The RCMP declined to remark for this story.


The Influence Workforce, the hacker group that claimed duty for stealing and leaking the AshleyMadison consumer information, additionally leaked a number of years value of e-mail from then-CEO Noel Biderman. A overview of these messages exhibits that Ashley Madison employed Jordan Evan Bloom as a PHP developer in December 2014 — though the corporate understood that Bloom’s success as a programmer and businessman was tied to shady and legally murky enterprises.

Bloom’s suggestion got here to Biderman through Trevor Sykes, then chief expertise officer for Ashley Madison guardian agency Avid Life Media (ALM). The next is an e-mail from Sykes to Biderman dated Nov. 14, 2014:

“Greetings Noel,

“We’d like to supply Jordan Bloom the place of PHP developer reporting to Mike Morris for 75k CAD/12 months. He did nicely on the take a look at, however he additionally has a terrific understanding of the enterprise aspect of issues having run small companies himself. This was an inner referral.”

When Biderman responded that he wanted extra details about the candidate, Sykes replied that Bloom was independently rich on account of his forays into the shadowy world of “gold farming”  — the semi-automated use of enormous numbers of participant accounts to win some benefit that’s often associated to cashing out recreation accounts or stock. Gold farming is especially prevalent in massively multiplayer on-line role-playing video games (MMORPGs), equivalent to RuneScape and World of Warcraft.

“In his earlier expertise he had been doing RMT (Actual Cash Buying and selling),” Sykes wrote. “That is the observe of promoting digital items in video games for actual world cash. This can be a gray market, which is often towards the phrases and providers of the sport firms.” Right here’s the remainder of his message to Biderman:

“RMT sellers historically have loads of issues with chargebacks, and fee processor compliance. Throughout my interview with him, I spent a while focusing in on this. He needed to display to the processor, Paypal, on the time he had a enterprise and technical technique to deal with his cost again price.”

“He ran this firm himself, and did all of the coding, together with the combination with the processors,” Sykes continued in his evaluation of Bloom. “Finally he was squeezed out by Chinese language gold farmers, and their means to market with way more funding than he might. As well as the price of ‘farming’ the digital items was cheaper in China to do than in North America.”


The gold farming reference is fascinating as a result of in 2017 KrebsOnSecurity printed Who Ran LeakedSource?, which examined clues suggesting that one of many directors of LeakedSource additionally was the admin of abusewith[.]us, a web site unabashedly devoted to serving to folks hack e-mail and on-line gaming accounts.

An administrator account Xerx3s on Abusewithus.

Abusewith[.]us started in September 2013 as a discussion board for studying and instructing the best way to hack accounts at Runescape, an MMORPG set in a medieval fantasy realm the place gamers battle for kingdoms and riches.

The forex with which Runescape gamers purchase and promote weapons, potions and different in-game objects are digital gold cash, and lots of of Abusewith[dot]us’s early members traded in a handful of commodities: Phishing kits and exploits that may very well be used to steal Runescape usernames and passwords from fellow gamers; digital gold plundered from hacked accounts; and databases from hacked boards and web sites associated to Runescape and different on-line video games.

That 2017 report right here interviewed a Michigan man who acknowledged being administrator of Abusewith[.]us, however denied being the operator of LeakedSource. Nonetheless, the story famous that LeakedSource possible had multiple operator, and breached data present Bloom was a prolific member of Abusewith[.]us.

In an e-mail to all staff on Dec. 1, 2014, Ashley Madison’s director of HR stated Bloom graduated from York University in Toronto with a level in theoretical physics, and that he has been an lively programmer since highschool.

“He’s a proprietor of a excessive site visitors multiplayer recreation and developer/writer of utilities equivalent to PicTrace,” the HR director enthused. “He will probably be a terrific addition to the staff.”

PicTrace seems to have been a service that allowed customers to glean details about anybody who seen a picture hosted on the platform, equivalent to their Web deal with, browser sort and model quantity. A replica of pictrace[.]com from Archive.org in 2012 redirects to the area qksnap.com, which DomainTools.com says was registered to a Jordan Bloom from Thornhill, ON that very same yr.

The road deal with listed within the registration data for qksnap.com — 204 Beverley Glen Blvd — additionally exhibits up within the registration data for leakadvisor[.]com, a website registered in 2017 simply months after Canadian authorities seized the servers working LeakedSource.

Pictrace, considered one of Jordan Bloom’s early IT successes.

A overview of passive DNS data from DomainTools signifies that in 2013 pictrace[.]com shared a server with only a handful of different domains, together with Close to-Actuality[.]com — a preferred RuneScape Personal Server (RSPS) recreation primarily based on the RuneScape MMORPG.

Copies of near-reality[.]com from 2013 via Archive.org present the highest of the neighborhood’s homepage was retrofitted with a message saying Close to Actuality was now not accessible resulting from a copyright dispute. Though the location doesn’t specify the opposite occasion to the copyright dispute, it seems Close to-Actuality obtained sued by Jagex, the proprietor of RuneScape.

The message goes on to say the web site will now not “encourage, facilitate, allow or condone (i) any infringement of copyright in RuneScape or every other Jagex product; nor (ii) any breach of the phrases and circumstances of RuneScape or every other Jagex product.”

A scene from the MMORPG RuneScape.


Close to Actuality additionally has a Facebook page that was final up to date in 2019, when its proprietor posted a hyperlink to a information story about Defiant Tech’s responsible plea within the LeakedSource investigation. That Fb web page signifies Bloom additionally glided by the nickname “Agentjags.”

“Only a fast PSA,” reads a put up to the Close to Actuality Fb web page dated Jan. 21, 2018, which linked to a narrative concerning the fees towards Bloom and a photograph of Bloom standing in entrance of his lime-green Lamborghini. “Agentjags has obtained concerned in some shady shit which will have compromised your private particulars. I counsel anybody who’s utilizing an outdated NR [Near Reality] password for something remotely vital ought to change it ASAP.”

By the start of 2016, Bloom was nowhere to be discovered, and was suspected of getting fled his nation for the Caribbean, in keeping with the folks commenting on the Close to Actuality Fb web page:

“Jordan aka Agentjags has gone lacking,” wrote a presumed co-owner of the Fb web page. “He’s supposedly hiding in St. Lucia, doing what he liked, scuba-diving. Any data to his whereabouts will probably be appreciated.”

KrebsOnSecurity ran the weird nickname “AgentJags” by a search at Constella Intelligence, a business service that tracks breached information units. That search returned only a few dozen outcomes — and nearly all have been accounts at numerous RuneScape-themed websites, together with a half-dozen accounts at Abusewith[.]us.

Constella discovered different “AgentJags” accounts tied to the e-mail deal with [email protected]. The advertising and marketing agency Apollo.io skilled an information breach a number of years again, and in keeping with Apollo the e-mail deal with [email protected] belongs to Jordan Bloom in Ontario.

Constella additionally revealed that the password steadily utilized by ownagega[email protected] throughout many websites was some variation on “niggapls,” which my 2017 report discovered was additionally the password utilized by the administrator of LeakedSource.

Constella found that the e-mail [email protected] comes up when one searches for “AgentJags.” That is curious as a result of emails leaked from Ashley Madison’s then-CEO Biderman present that Eric Malek from Toronto was the Ashley Madison worker who initially really helpful Bloom for the PHP developer job.

In line with DomainTools.com, [email protected] was used to register the area devjobs.ca, which beforehand marketed “probably the most thrilling developer jobs in Canada, delivered to you weekly.” Constella says [email protected] additionally had an account at Abusewith[.]us — beneath the nickname “Jags.

Biderman’s e-mail data present Eric Malek was additionally a PHP developer for Ashley Madison, and that he was employed into this place only a few months earlier than Bloom — on Sept. 2, 2014. The CEO’s leaked emails present Eric Malek resigned from his developer place at Ashley Madison on June 19, 2015.

“Please be aware that Eric Malek has resigned from this place with Avid and his final day will probably be June nineteenth,” learn a June 5, 2015 e-mail from ALM’s HR director. “He’s resigning to cope with some private points which embody well being points. As a result of he isn’t certain how a lot time it is going to take to resolve, he isn’t requesting a depart of absence (his day without work will probably be indefinite). Total, he likes the corporate and plans to succeed in out to Trevor or I when the problems are resolved to see what is offered at the moment.”

A follow-up e-mail from Biderman demanded, “wish to know the place he’s really going….,” and it’s unclear whether or not there was friction with Malek’s departure. However ALM Basic Counsel Avi Weisman replied indicating that Malek most likely wouldn’t signal an “Exit Acknowledgment Type” previous to leaving, and that the corporate had unanswered questions for Malek.

“Aneka ought to dig throughout exit interview,” Weisman wrote. “Let’s see if he balks at signing the Acknowledgment.”

Bloom’s departure discover from Ashley Madison’s HR particular person, dated June 23, 2015, learn:

“Please be aware that Jordan Bloom has resigned from his place as PHP Developer with Avid. He’s leaving for private causes. He has a neck difficulty that can require surgical procedure within the upcoming months and due to his medical appointment schedule and the ache he’s experiencing he can now not decide to a full-time schedule. He could choose up contract work till he’s again to 100%.”

A follow-up be aware to Biderman about this announcement learn:

“Be aware that he has disclosed that he’s independently rich so he can get by with out FT work till he’s on the mend. He has signed the Exit Acknowledgement Type already with out difficulty. He additionally says he would think about reapplying to Avid sooner or later if we now have alternatives accessible at the moment.”

Maybe Mr. Bloom harm his neck from craning it round blind spots in his Lamborghini. Possibly it was from a nasty scuba outing. Regardless of the ache in Bloom’s neck was, it didn’t cease him from launching himself absolutely into LeakedSource[.]com, which was registered roughly one month after the Influence Workforce leaked information on 37 million Ashley Madison accounts.

Mr. Malek declined a request for remark. A now-deleted LinkedIn profile for Malek from December 2018 listed him as a “technical recruiter” from Toronto who additionally attended Mr. Bloom’s alma mater — York College. That resume didn’t point out Mr. Malek’s transient stint as a PHP developer at Ashley Madison.

“Developer, entrepreneur, and now technical recruiter of probably the most unusual selection!” Mr. Malek’s LinkedIn profile enthused. “Are you a developer, or different technical specialist, desirous about working with a recruiter who can correctly perceive your issues and aspirations, technical, environmental and monetary? Don’t accept a ‘hack’; that is your profession, let’s do it proper! Join with me on LinkedIn. Be aware: If you’re not a resident of Canada/Toronto, I can’t make it easier to.”


Mr. Bloom instructed KrebsOnSecurity he had no position in harming or hacking Ashley Madison. Bloom validated his identification by responding at one of many e-mail addresses talked about above, and agreed to area questions as long as KrebsOnSecurity agreed to publish our e-mail dialog in full (PDF).

Bloom stated Mr. Malek did suggest him for the Ashley Madison job, however that Mr. Malek additionally acquired a $5,000 referral bonus for doing so. Given Mr. Malek’s said position as a technical recruiter, it appears possible he additionally really helpful a number of different staff to Ashley Madison.

Bloom was requested whether or not anybody on the RCMP, Ashley Madison or any authority anyplace ever questioned him in reference to the July 2015 hack of Ashley Madison. He replied that he was known as as soon as by somebody claiming to be from the Toronto Police Service asking if he knew something concerning the Ashley Madison hack.

“The AM state of affairs was not one thing they pursued in keeping with the RCMP disclosure,” Bloom wrote. “Studying concerning the RCMP’s most superior cyber investigative strategies and capabilities was very attention-grabbing although. I used to be finally instructed data by a 3rd occasion which included information that regulation enforcement successfully knew who the hacker was, however didn’t have sufficient proof to proceed with a case. That’s the extent of my involvement with any authorities.”

As to his firm’s responsible plea for working LeakedSource, Bloom maintains that the decide at his preliminary inquiry discovered that even when every part the Canadian authorities alleged was true it could not represent a violation of any regulation in Canada with respect the fees the RCMP leveled towards him, which included unauthorized use of a pc and “mischief to information.”

“In Canada on the decrease court docket degree we’re allowed to own stolen data and manipulate our copies of them as we please,” Bloom stated. “The decide nevertheless determined {that a} trial was required to find out whether or not any actions of mine have been reckless, as the opposite qualifier of deliberately prison didn’t apply. I’ll be aware right here that nothing I used to be accused of doing would have been unlawful if executed in the US of America in keeping with their District Lawyer. +1 totally free speech in America vs freedom of expression in Canada.”

“Shortly after their having most of their case thrown out, the Authorities proposed a proposal throughout a closed door assembly the place they’d drop all fees towards me, present full and full private immunity, and in trade the Company which has since been dissolved would plead responsible,” Bloom continued. “The Company would additionally pay a modest high-quality.”

Bloom stated he left Ashley Madison as a result of he was bored, however he acknowledged beginning LeakedSource partly in response to the Ashley Madison hack.

“I meant to leverage my gaming connections to get into safety work together with for different personal servers equivalent to Minecraft communities and others,” Bloom stated. “After months of asking administration for extra attention-grabbing duties, I turned bored. Some days I had nearly nothing to do besides spin in my chair so I’d browse the supply code for safety holes to repair as a result of I discovered it pleasurable.”

“I consider the choice to begin LS [LeakedSource] was partly impressed by the AM hack itself, and the massive variety of folks from a former pal group messaging me asking if XYZ particular person was within the leak after I revealed to them that I downloaded a replica and had the power to browse it,” Bloom continued. “LS was by no means my concept – I used to be only a builder, and the one Canadian. In different international locations it was by no means considered unlawful on nearer examination of their legal guidelines.”

Bloom stated he nonetheless considers himself independently rich, and that also has the lime inexperienced Lambo. However he stated he’s at present unemployed and might’t appear to land a job in what he views as his most promising profession path: Data safety.

“As I’m certain you’re conscious, having unfavorable media consideration related to alleged (key phrase) prison exercise can have a detrimental impact on employment, banking and relationships,” Bloom wrote. “I’ve no present curiosity in being a enterprise proprietor, nor do I’ve any helpful enterprise concepts to be sincere. I used to be and am desirous about attention-grabbing Data Safety/programming work but it surely’s too giant of a danger for any enterprise to rent somebody who was previously accused of against the law.”

Should you favored this story, please think about studying the primary two items on this collection:

website positioning Professional Employed and Fired by Ashley Madison Turned on Firm, Promising Revenge

Prime Suspect in 2015 Ashley Madison Hack Dedicated Suicide in 2014