Chemmie Squier | Acting Fashion & Beauty Editor | Monday, 20 July 2015

Dating Website, Ashley Madison, Has Been Hacked

Infidelity Website Ashley Madison Has Been Hacked

The Debrief: Whether you agree with why people are using the site or not, no-one deserves to have their personal information leaked

Today is not a good day for users of Ashley Madison. The online ‘dating’ site that encourages married people to have affairs has been hacked by a group calling themselves ‘The Impact Team’ (the acronym is ‘TIT’, and I can’t help thinking this was intentional in some way). The website, which is said to have around 37 million users, holds a large amount of personal information, which the hackers are threatening to release (it’s been reported that they’ve already released some bits) if Avid Life Media (the company that own them) don’t shut down Ashley Madison and another of their dating sites, Established Men. Apparently, though, the’'re allowed to keep their other sites online, like Cougar Life.

‘We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transaction, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,’ say the group. Basically, everything that makes someone identifiable. Why? Well The Impact Team believe that the ‘full delete’ feature that ALM offers users for a $19 fee, which apparently allows members to totally delete their details, doesn’t. They claim that because most users pay with their credit cards ‘their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address’. They then go on to say that this means ALM are making a hell of a lot of money ($1.7m revenue in 2014, apparently) from a feature that doesn’t actually do what it promises. This isn’t the first hack that’s taken place on a dating site – back in March Adult FriendFinder was hacked, exposing over 3.5 million people’s personal data.

What’s weird, though, is that The Impact Team seem to be trying to protect the security of the site’s users, by threatening to release their private information. Mind fuck, much? I can’t help thinking these hackers may have once been users… but I’m speculating.

What we can be sure of, though, is that invading someone else’s private information and essentially holding them ransom, is not OK. Don’t get me wrong, these 37 million users need to take a good hard look at themselves if they feel the need to sign up to a website with the tag line, ‘Life’s too short. Have an affair.’ Here’s a thought: life’s too short, so be with someone YOU ACTUALLY LIKE AND DON'T WANT TO CHEAT ON. Regardless, do these people deserve to have their private information leaked? No. When The Fappening happened we knew it was unequivocally wrong. So, just because the people involved may be cheating douche-bags, what it comes down to is personal property and privacy, and something which compromises that is never OK. 

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Follow Chemmie on Twitter @chemsquier

Illustration: Marina Esmeraldo