The release of stolen data from Ashley Madison, a dating website marketed at would-be adulterers, promises to roil the marital lives of its members.It has also underscored the troubling limitations of Internet privacy.On Tuesday, hackers appeared to make good on a threat to release what they said was 9.7 gigabytes of account and credit card information from 37 million users of the site.What information was released?The data includes members’ names, user names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates as well as details of credit card transactions. Member passwords are encrypted, but specific users could be easily targeted for decryption, according to Quartz.Profiles filled out by users could also contain embarrassing information about their sexual preferences.The breach also included users of Established Men, a separate site aimed at women looking to date rich men. Both sites are owned by Avid Life Media.
We’re a nation of losers, mouth-breathing, couch-potato, hands-down-our-pants dolts. We’re an embarrassment, and in the wake of Tuesday’s revelation, we should all be sent to our rooms with no electronics.I speak, of course, of the Ashley Madison scandal, a hack that revealed the names of a jaw-dropping, knee-weakening 32 million would-be philanderers, many of whom were stupid enough to use work emails for the purposes of philandering. (The site, brought to us by some clever Canadians, allows married people to find dates who know from the beginning that nothing serious is intended.)
A group of hackers calling themselves Impact Team posted a small portion of the data in July, and they threatened to release the rest unless the site was shut down.The hackers said they were upset about Ashley Madison’s policy for deleting user data when requested. The company has long offered members the ability to scrub their profiles and information from the site for $19, a feature that BuzzFeed News said generated nearly $2 million in 2014. But, as the breach showed, the data remained.“We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of A.L.M. and their members,” Impact Team wrote, referring to Avid Life Media. “Now everyone gets to see their data.”
“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality,” it said in a statement. “It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities. The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society.”