Thirty-seven million accounts from Ashley Madison, a notorious website for married people looking to have an affair, have been circling the web since August 18 thanks to the anonymous perpetrator(s) called Impact Team. Here are 8 consequences of the Ashley Madison data breach.
Josh Duggar was outed as a user of Ashley Madison and is now in rehab.
Reality star and proponent of Christian values, Josh Duggar, was among those Ashley Madison accounts that were compromised in the data breach. Duggar responded in a statement, in which he confessed to being a “hypocrite” and viewing pornography.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
A later statement on the family’s website said Duggar had been checked into rehab.
Ashley Madison is in deep legal trouble.
If the breach doesn’t spell doom for Ashley Madison, the legal battles facing the site will. Multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. and Canada, which in total are seeking over $1 billion. The lawsuits argue that Ashley Madison failed to properly protect their client’s data.
Avid Media, the Canadian parent company of Ashley Madison, is offering a $376,000 bounty.
At a press conference, Toronto police superintendent Bryce Evans announced $500,000 Canadian dollars (about $376,000 USD) would be offered up for information which leads to the arrest of the hacker.
“Today I can confirm that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database.”
Thanks to startup Trustify, you can search through the leaked Ashley Madison accounts.
WIRED reports on a private investigation startup called Trustify that’s shamelessly making it easy to search through the leaked Ashley Madison data. For one, you can check if your information was compromised, but you can also search through other accounts. Danny Boice, Trustify’s founder, explained his company’s motto to WIRED.
“For us, it’s a fine line. We’re in the business of finding truth. We don’t have a position on that truth, there’s no bias. We don’t help anyone cover it up, and we won’t help anyone take actions once they find the truth.”
The vast majority of female accounts on Ashley Madison are fake, and the site is overwhelmingly male.
Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo closely studied the leaked data, coming to the conclusion that most of the female accounts were not real and the site was instead heavily dominated by males looking for an affair. The site was already skewed towards men, with 31 million men competing for 5.5 million women, but this picture was found to be worse. Among those 5.5 million female accounts, Gizmodo estimates only about 12,000 accounts were real. A lot of men were just spending their time, and money, messaging fake women. Ouch.
Ashley Madison’s parent company made millions off a $19 “full delete” fee that didn’t work.
BuzzFeed reported on a memo that showed Ashley Madison bringing in revenue of $1.7 million in 2014 alone from its $19 “full delete” fee. Meaning at least 90,000 users paid for their information to be deleted when it was not properly disposed of.
John McAfee thinks the Ashley Madison hacker is a woman and a former employee.
In an International Business Times op-ed, cybersecurity entrepreneur John McAfee said the hacker is a former Ashley Madison employee and a woman. How does he know? From their “emotionally charged” language.
“How did I come to this conclusion? Very simply. I have spent my entire career in the analysis of cybersecurity breaches, and can recognise an inside job 100% of the time if given sufficient data – and 40GB is more than sufficient. I have also practiced social engineering since the word was first invented and I can very quickly identify gender if given enough emotionally charged words from an individual.”
Two people have allegedly committed suicide because their Ashley Madison accounts were leaked.
The Toronto Police Department, which is overseeing the investigation of the Canadian-based extra-marital affair website, have received reports of two unconfirmed suicides. Allegedly, two former users of Ashley Madison were driven to suicide as a result of the data breach. The Toronto police gave no further information on the suicides, according to the BBC.
[Image via Ashley Madison.]