Ashley Madison Hack Goldmine for Suspicious Spouses
As is now widely known by most of the Western world, last month saw the notorious “infidelity site” Ashley Madison announce it had been the victim of a large scale data breach, with hackers accessing in depth information about the company’s clients. The infamous site specialises in allowing married users to contact and meet each other for the explicit purpose of cheating on their partners- succinctly summed up by their tagline, “Life’s short, have an affair”. It’s no surprise then, that the prospect of such a vast trove of cheaters being laid bare for the internet to uncover was a titillating draw for the media. Sure enough, and to the horror of nervous cheaters across the globe, the hackers- a previously unknown group called “impact team”- made good on their threat last week, and released a 25 Gigabit tranche of data to the wilds of the internet. Whilst the Ashley Madison hack headlines have certainly been great for tabloid sales, the morality of the act is decidedly murky.
Not so anonymous?
Rather than being rigorous moral campaigners, the hackers seem to have been motivated by what they perceive as Ashley Madison’s rather questionable approach to handling user data. Specifically, their policy of charging users $20 if they want a “complete” removal of their details from the site. The company have defended this policy as covering data removal that wouldn’t have normally occured, such as deleting previously sent messages, however it’s not hard to see this as a potentially cynical way of grafting a few bucks from paranoid and guilty users. It was also revealed in the wake of the hack that the website had no email verification system for new users. This meant that anyone could potentially register any email address for the site without the owner’s permission. This was hastily pointed out after the discovery of several emails such as “tblair.labour.gov.uk” in the leak- and no, “labour.gov.uk” is not a real domain. Interestingly, security expert John McAffee has suggested that the size of the leak, as well as the type of data collected, suggests it was an inside job by an aggrieved employee.
To search, or not to search?
Of course, whilst there is a degree of schadenfreude in seeing the names of cheats plastered across the internet, ultimately it’s a rather spiteful act to have committed. Aside from the obvious fact that having an affair is legal- and the hacking certainly isn’t- it’s also a highly traumatic thing for families to potentially have to address in a public setting. Already, Toronto police have attributed two suicides to revelations in the leak, and are advising that the data might also be perfect for criminals looking to extort or blackmail those listed. Naturally, the data is already seemingly being combed through by partners and spouses, with “Ashley Madison list Alabama” and “Ashley Madison list Texas” curiously two of the top autocomplete results when the website’s name is typed into Google. The BBC also reported that the first divorce proceedings directly related to the hack were underway in the UK. Unlike several other websites we have decided not to publish tips on how to find the data, but it’s certainly out there for those who want to look…
As one might suspect, we actually have quite a lot of experience with similar enquiries here at SpyCameraCCTV. It’s rather unfortunate, but one of the most common questions we are asked here by customers is how to record a suspected cheating spouse, and what the legal implications of trying to do so are. Unsurprisingly, the main issues to consider are ethical rather than technical, as we have a wide range of hidden recorders and spy cams that can easily be used to catch someone out in the act. Whilst it’s generally legal to put a camera on your own property, depending on what is actually recorded it might not be admissible in court, should things go that far. We would always recommend consulting with a lawyer or local police before setting up any form of hidden surveillance. Of course, many might point out a more simple fact- if it’s gotten to the point where you are trying to secretly record their movements, maybe they’re just not trustworthy enough to stay with…