There was much schadenfreude to be had when hackers dumped user details of 33+ million Ashley Madison accounts on the web. Let the cheatin’ cheaters be exposed (along with everyone else thrown under the bus).
The hackers said they did it for two reasons:
- To expose the large number of fake female profiles AM uses to lure straight men to their site. Big yawn. A dating site with fake profiles? Who knew?
- To show that all the users who paid $20 to have their information deleted from the site were ripped off and the data was still there. It was indeed.
Despite the moral indignation flying about, the hackers did us all a big favour. If you were under any delusion that information you put on the web is secure, you now have the memo: it isn’t.
- the private info was not encrypted: not credit card info, not names, not email addies, … not even that Josh Duggar wants to experiment with sex toys.
- account info was not deleted despite payments and promises (a service that netted the company $1.7m in 2014)
Some online services are easy enough to use with fake identity info. But once you have to pay and hand over credit card info, concealing your private info gets difficult.
It is naive to think that data you put on the cloud is safe from whoever is intent on getting it be it hackers or the authorities or whoever buys over the site when they cash out.
It may also be too late if you regret signing up and delete your account later.
Read user agreements, privacy statements and find out how your data is protected. If in doubt, be sure you weigh up the risk of your data being hacked before signing up.
Image source: ‘Pandora’s Box’ – Steele Savage