As you may have heard, earlier today cheating facilitation website Ashley Madison announced that it had been hacked, a security breach that has put its 37 million users at risk. When regular old websites are victimized by hackers-- like say, Target-- and personal information about individuals who frequent the site is stolen, people naturally get upset. In this particular case, it's slightly more alarming to those affected, because in addition to names, addresses, credit card numbers, predilections for being punched in the face while orgasming1 and all that jazz, the fact that, y'know, they're running around on their spouses is also at risk of being revealed. As of this afternoon, no one is more upset about the matter than Bloomberg, which can't believe AshMad members acted like such god damn amateurs.
AshleyMadison boasts on its homepage that it is has more than 37.6 million anonymous members. It also touts that it is the leading dating service for "discreet" sexual encounters for married people. Yet while it offers methods for paying fees anonymously, many people apparently didn't use them.
Next time, act like you've done this before.
Of course, a few basic tricks make it possible to assure at least a modicum of anonymity transacting online. For those seriously concerned about online privacy—such as human rights activists, whistleblowers, and journalists—such tools as prepaid debit cards, encrypted e-mail, and anonymous browsing technologies are the coin of the realm. Many philanderers using AshleyMadison's services, who presumably took extraordinary steps to hide affairs from their partners, appear to have missed that memo.
1. ...those responsible are threatening to expose data that include payment information linked to painfully sensitive details from users' profiles. Those profiles contain the findings of an extensive survey given to new AshleyMadison users asking them to outline their reasons for being on the site and their most secret sexual fantasies.↩