Ashley Madison Hack

News came out today that web-site Ashely Madison (ashleymadison.com) has been hacked. Data for up to 30 Million people could be at risk. The AshleyMadison.com site says “Over 37,610,000 anonymous members!”

It is still unclear exactly what was hacked, and what information will be made public on-line. The information might include names, credit card information, how long they’ve been members of the site, interests, and what they were seeking.

If the data does get released on the Ashley Madison clients it may end up causing an increase in divorces across the world (they say they service customers in 30 countries). This is speculation though infidelity can be a reason people get divorced.

Who is Ashely Madison?

Ashley Madison has been a match-making site available since the early 2000’s. Unlike many others sites they market to people already in relationships. To make this 100% clear their slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” This tells us the company is not trying spin it’s service as anything but what it is – a way for people to cheat on their spouses.

The folks who run Ashley Madison probably justify their service in a few different ways. They probably tell themselves people are going to cheat, and they simply help them do it. And in a few cases on their site they post articles and surveys trying to downplay how bad cheating is. Maybe this helps the people who work there sleep better at night knowing they are helping millions of people cheat. We however aren’t going to dive into the ethics of the company or cheating itself.

This is about the fact that people sign up for the site, and those people expect some level of anonymity. That anonymity is now very much in question. Imagine signing up for a cheating web-site and meeting a few people. Then finding out later your information is going to be exposed on the web for anyone to see. This could be really life altering if you are married or engaged, and especially if you have kids.

What to do?

If you are an AshleyMadison.com customer you may be in a very uncomfortable position soon. If the data gets released, including your information, you should consider your options immediately. This may include talking with your spouse, a marriage counselor, and others who can offer advice.

There is also a good chance there will be a class-action law-suit against the company. This is a major breach of bad faith as customers expect their information will be kept confidential.

Note there is also a chance your information is not made public. If that’s the case perhaps doing nothing is in your best interest. Though this may be a chance for you to open up to our significant other and discuss what’s going on. Every couple is different and you need to decide what will work best for you.

Deleting Your Account

One interesting note about Ashley Madison is they charged customers to delete their data. So not only would you pay to chat with people, you would also need to pay them if you ever wanted to be taken off their system.

It will be interesting to see if some people who paid for their accounts to be deleted find out their information was hacked anyway. Per the hackers this was the reason they hacked the site in the first place. They didn’t believe Ashley Madison was truly deleting user accounts even after they paid for the service.

Cougar Life, Established Men

Two other sites were supposedly hacked as well. These are cougerlife.com and establishedmen.com. So we may see user data from these two sites as well.

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