Ashley Madison: up to 1 million Australians could be exposed.
Notorious dating site for cheating partners Ashley Madison has today found itself the target of hackers who apparently have a major problem with both the parent company Avid Life Media, and the "cheating dirtbags" who use the site.
The hackers, a person or group calling itself The Impact Team, have posted large caches of stolen data online and claim to have compromised the company's user databases, financial records and other sensitive information. They're threatening to "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" if Avid Life Media (ALM) does not permanently take down Ashley Madison and another of its rather unpleasant dating sites, Established Men ("Connecting young, beautiful women with interesting men" - yuck).
In a manifesto posted alongside the data, The Impact Team outlined the main reasons for the hack: namely, that ALM was charging its users a $19 fee to erase their profile information, and that the users are "cheating dirtbags who don't deserve discretion". Nice.
It's tempting to bask in schadenfreude at this news, and plenty on social media are doing just that:
Cheating website Ashley Madison was hacked pic.twitter.com/2J22beWb63— FunnyTweets (@funny_together) July 21, 2015
I can't imagine how shocked Ashley Madison users must feel to discover they've been betrayed by a site they supported and trusted for years.— Morgan Missen (@mm) July 20, 2015
My response to hackers releasing the personal information of 37 million cheaters using Ashley Madison. pic.twitter.com/J1euSiOY7V— West Lee (@NotthatAdamWest) July 20, 2015
37mill subscribers to the hacked #AshleyMadison "cheaters" website will be sweating bullets right now. Some fun dinner convo's ahead 2night.— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) July 21, 2015
For 90 Bitcoin I will tell your wife I created your Ashley Madison profile because I'm obsessed and I wanted you to break up.— InfoSec Taylor (@SwiftOnSecurity) July 20, 2015
Ashley Madison website is having problems. But instead of addressing them directly, it'll just look for a younger hotter website on the side— Eliza Bayne (@ElizaBayne) July 20, 2015
These hook-up sites are not just sleazy - they trade off sexist, exploitative ideas and powerplay in male and female relationships. But is revelling in this privacy breach any different from celebrating revenge porn?
The Impact Team are on a moral crusade and seem to think that their victims - who they don't know - deserve to be humiliated because of personal sexual decisions they've made that are deemed 'immoral'. Siding with the hackers, claiming that these individuals 'should have known better', were 'asking for it' or 'deserve it', is a base echo of the slut-shaming arguments used against women who are the victims of revenge porn.
Nobody knows these people, we don't know their personal stories, we can't judge their decisions. And that's how it should stay.