“Life is short. Protect your data.”
Hackers have successfully attacked a Canadian website catering for married people looking to have affairs. The hackers, calling themselves the “Impact Team” claim to have accessed the entire database of the 37 million users of AshleyMadison.com and have posted samples of the stolen data online. A further website, “Established Men” run by the same parent company was also affected.
The “Impact Team” say that “Avid Life Media (Ashley Madison’s parent company) has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”
The motive behind the hack seems to be twofold, encompassing both a moral element “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirt bags and deserve no such discretion,” and the sense that the site’s privacy features such as a paid for “full deletion” service had posed a technological challenge that was too tempting to resist “Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver.”
The hack shows the growing tension between law and morality on the internet. Whilst joining Ashley Madison may be reprehensible in many ways, it is not unlawful. Conversely, many might view the Impact Team’s actions as morally laudable, but they were certainly illegal. Nonetheless, through their technological sophistication, Impact Team has managed to disrupt and possibly destroy Ashley Madison and panic its millions of users seemingly because they disapprove of their lawful activity. It may well be the case that, having done so, the complexity of tracking down and prosecuting hackers means that no individual will ever be held to account for this hack.
Cartwright King is a national firm with an enviable expertise in defending allegations of cyber crime. Our specialist team of cyber crime solicitors can be contacted on 0161 833 1411. We also have a long established team of solicitors dealing in Family and Matrimonial law. If you have discovered that your spouse was registered on AshleyMadison.com and want to consider your options, call a Family solicitor on 0845 894 1622 or email either team at email@example.com.