Ashley Madison security breach won’t change cheating ways, experts say

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Canada’s capital is a hotspot for Ashley Madison users, now hacking victims.

One in five Ottawa residents are allegedly subscribed to adulterers’ website Ashley Madison, making the Canadian capital among the most vulnerable to a breach of privacy after hackers targeted the site.

With the news that infidelity-themed dating site AshleyMadison.com had been hacked, and user data stolen from its 37 million members stolen, the public conversation has once more turned to cheating, and cheaters, and the question of whether private lives deserve public ridicule.A hacked website for married people who want to have an affair has in the region of 115,000 Irish members, according to figures published by the company.

Hackers threatened to leak details including the credit card information, nude photos, sexual fantasies and real names of as many as 37 million customers worldwide of Ashley Madison, which uses the slogan: “Life is short. As Gawker learned last week, outing private citizens has serious consequences, not least for the families of those citizens, whose lives are turned upside down by both the discovery of infidelity and the unwanted attention it draws. Avid Life Media (ALM), the parent company for dating websites Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men, said in a statement on Monday it had been the subject of an “act of cyber–terrorism”.

Somewhere in San Francisco, an intern at a social media platform is probably figuring out how to cross-reference the hacked data so it will be easier to pin red letter A’s on user pics and avatars. A group calling itself The Impact Team infiltrated the company’s systems and posted a statement which claimed it had complete access to the company’s database of members, as well as financial records and other personal information. Some 189,810 Ashley Madison users were registered in Ottawa, a city with a population of about 883,000, making the capital the top for philanderers in Canada and potentially the highest globally per capita, according to previously published figures from the Toronto-based company. But the conversation about infidelity is the wrong conversation to have. “Life is short,” goes the Ashley Madison tagline. “Have an affair.” But here’s the real story: Life is short. 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.

Following queries from The Irish Times in relation to Irish membership, a spokesman for ALM said he had “no information on your specific questions at the moment”. 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. “In our buttoned-down city, it may not be acceptable to openly explore outside of a committed relationship,” said Ottawa marriage counselor Nataxja Cini.

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. Canada (6.7 per cent), the United States (5.2 per cent) and Australia (5.1 per cent) have the most members per capita, but Ireland is ranked as having the highest number in Europe with the exception of Switzerland (3.9 per cent) and Spain (2.7 per cent). In a subsequent statement, the company said it “does in fact remove all information” and added it would waive the fee for any member wishing to avail of the option “in light of today’s news”. Speaking of her own divorce, Maria Shriver wrote, “The pain was real and at times completely overwhelming, but eventually it went away and has made me stronger than I was before.

I actually feel alive!” And she’s not the only one. “[T]here is a freedom that comes from letting go of the vision you had for your life,” says one blogger at DivorcedMoms.com. And at the Good Men Project, Mark Radcliffe has defended divorce vigorously: “sometimes divorce can actually be a healthy new beginning—not just for the two parties divorcing, but for their kids, too, and for relationships with in-laws, friends, co-workers, and everyone else affected by the warring couple.” This isn’t to say that divorce is easy. In Canada, seven in 10 children from divorced families live with their mothers, meaning women are often expected to take primary responsibility for them. If, like one anonymous Toronto Life contributor, you’re contemplating an affair because “I also resented how much of my life was taken up by the kids’ soccer practices, hair appointments and parent-teacher interviews,” divorce will not solve that problem. And divorce is more than just hiring a lawyer and a moving truck: you need a team, including a therapist to help you navigate the change, if you want to make the best of your life after divorce.

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