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So Much For Being On The Down Low
By: Jennifer Graber
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Each day we are faced with reminders of the mortality of life. We are encouraged to live boldly; to color outside the lines. We are told that life is far too short to miss one moment. Sometimes, in fact, we are even encouraged to have an affair.

Wait, what? According to the website Ashley Madison, “Life Is Short. Have An Affair.” That sort of logical thinking has amassed an amazing 37 million users on the Ashley Madison site — a site dedicated to creating infidelity.
 
Now those 37 million users — from the second-largest dating site — are at risk of being exposed. Hackers, known as the Impact Team, have cracked into user data from Ashley Madison and are threatening to post sordid details online. The nitty-gritty details include fantasies, nude photos, real names, credit card numbers, addresses, and other personal information. For a site that boasts being discreet, this hack is a definite nightmare scenario.

Avid Life Media, managing company of Ashley Madison, has released a statement apologizing for the security breach and “criminal intrusion” into its “customers’ information.” As a result of the hack the Ashley Madison site is offering a “hard delete” of customer data, which is normally a paid feature. The hard delete allegedly allows users to erase personal data so that it is no longer stored. However, the Impact Team hackers are saying that this is not necessarily the case and information is still stored in some form.
 
In fact, the hackers are stating that it is this very hard delete feature that is a main reason for the hack. The group released a statement saying it wanted the Ashley Madison site to be permanently removed. Ashley Madison is the sister site to Cougar Life and Established Men — two other sites that the Impact Team is calling for the removal of. The statement also urges the managing company of said sites to stop blatantly lying to its users about its security measures. Almost sounds like Impact Team is a scorned lover.
 
This latest security hack is an interesting one. On the one hand, it is yet another example of how we are in greater need of increased security. Internet security should be continually developed. It is not a static situation. It must grow with the evolving technology. On the other hand, there is the content of the site to consider. Ashley Madison is a site dedicated to connecting those who wish to have affairs. Perhaps they deserve to have private information released. Why not, instead, seek out a mate as a single person or enter into a polyamorous relationship? Is the thrill in the possibility of doing what you are not supposed to? I have a feeling many of the site’s users are having an "oh s**t" moment right now, and they will likely be hard pressed to find sympathy like you would with an email or bank account hacking.

The Ashley Madison site probably should work on a new slogan — life is short, use our site to have an affair and get caught because there is no such thing as discretion.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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