Marriages and love lives may be at risk after customer data from the infidelity website Ashley Madison was released in an unprecedented privacy breach that is rattling users and causing some divorce attorneys’ phones to light up like Christmas trees.
Last month, hackers dumped millions of email addresses, many of which belonged to service members, U.S. government officials, and high-level executives, raising concerns worldwide about Internet security.
The cyber-attack against Ashley Madison, which is owned by Toronto-based Avid Life Media has postponed the IPO plans of the adultery website, Reuters reported.
Divorce lawyers have never seen anything like this before. The hackers made good on their promise to release real names, racy photos, and sexual fantasies for 37 million customers of Ashley Madison, which is known for its slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.”
Michele Weiner Davis, a marriage therapist in Colorado told Reuters that these poor people will be dealing with it in such a public way, that it’s absolutely devastating.
Davis said that for the spouses, the shock will turn to anger and then a deep feeling of hurt and betrayal. She said that it’s no picnic for the unfaithful spouse either.
The data dump could have a major impact on U.S. service members if it’s discovered that it’s real. Several tech websites have reported that more than 15,000 email addresses belong to people in the government and the military.
Adultery Sometimes a Crime in the Military
Under certain criteria, adultery is a crime in the U.S. military and could lead to dishonorable discharge or incarceration.
As it turns out, the hackers’ move to expose the members of the cheating spouses’ website appears to be aimed at damaging the company and publicly embarrassing its members, rather than for their financial gain.
The lists were released on the “dark web,” which can only be accessed through a specialized browser, however the database was in the process of being decrypted and made more widely available, Reuters reported.
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