Ashley Madison says 1 in 5 Ottawans subscribed to adulterer website

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ashley Madison Hack Shows U.S. Unfaithful on Privacy.

One in five Ottawa residents allegedly subscribed to adulterers’ website Ashley Madison, making one of the world’s coldest capitals among the hottest for extra-marital hookups — and the most vulnerable to a breach of privacy after hackers targeted the site. Hundreds of data breaches have shaken U.S. companies and government agencies so far during 2015, but hackers are now threatening to expose uniquely personal information about 37 million people who use Ashley Madison, a dating site that helps arrange extramarital affairs. According to previously published figures from the Toronto-based company, some 189,810 Ashley Madison users were registered in Ottawa, a city with a population of about 883,000, making the capital No. 1 for philanderers in Canada and potentially the highest globally per capita, A former employee sued Avid Life, saying she had developed debilitating wrist pain, insomnia and anxiety while writing 1,000 fake profiles for a Brazilian version of Ashley Madison, according to court records. The “discreet dating” site that proudly labels its users as “cheaters” was breached by a group of hackers known as Impact Team, which recently posted data online stolen from Ashley Madison and its sister sites Cougar Life and Established Men, which arrange hookups with older women and men.

The parent company of these sites, Avid Life Media, removed the posts of stolen data after being notified by cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs, who runs the tech blog Krebs on Security. AdultFriendFinder hookup site was also hacked in May, and “several of the leaked internal documents indicate [AvidLifeMedia] was hyper aware of the risks of a data breach,” Krebs said on his blog. The one bright spot for millions of Ashley Madison’s nervous clients is that the hack appears to be an inside job, according to police and intelligence sources. Congress has been pressing for greater cybersecurity after data breaches of federal agencies like the Office of Personnel Management, and companies like Sony Pictures Entertainment and Target have also been on the defensive the after records from their networks were hacked last year, but the problem keeps growing. The hackers, who referred to customers as “cheating dirtbags who deserve no discretion,” appear uninterested in blackmailing individual clients, unlike an organized crime outfit. “If it had been organized, they wouldn’t have advertised it,” said a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But there’s going to be a lot of people with lots of explaining to do.” The hotbed of infidelity was also the seat of power: The top postal code for new members matched that of Parliament Hill, according to Avid Live chief executive Noel Biderman in a newspaper report published earlier this year.

Those data breaches show a lack of cybersecurity preparedness at companies and agencies to protect credit card and employee records, but users have the power to choose what goes on social media and dating sites. Biderman said capital cities around the world typically top subscription rates, a phenomenon he chalks up to “power, fame and opportunity,” along with the risk-taking personalities that find themselves in political cities. The hackers want Avid Life to shut down the website, as well as a second one it runs, which is widely described as a “sugar daddy site,” but has no issues with, a site for older women looking for hookups. “In our buttoned-down city, it may not be acceptable to openly explore outside of a committed relationship,” said Ottawa marriage counselor Nataxja Cini. Only 20 percent of Millennials worry about digital privacy most of the time, while 46 percent worry about it “only a little,” and 34 percent “don’t worry at all,” according to a recent study conducted by the American Press Institute. Still, one Ottawa resident, who declined to give her last name, said it is unsurprising the small government town is home to so many Ashley Madison clients. “In a blue collar city, they’re not going to use a website, they’re going to do it at a bar,” said Kary, 38.

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