We regularly discuss in our Credit Reporting Error practice on how to keep yourself safe from ID theft/fraud and to be aware of hackers seeking your personal information. In our Family Law practice area, we routinely warn people who may be considering divorce to not conduct any online activities that could be used against them in court. These two practice areas have collided in the recent hacking of a website connecting people that wish to have affairs.
The site that was hacked is Ashley Madison and the hack has exposed its 37 million users’ personal fantasies, credit card information, employment, home address, etc. Avid Life Media, who owns this site and several other “hook up” sites, is being told to bring the site down by the self-identified hackers “The Impact Team.” This comes just months after AdultFriendFinder’s hack and the public release of information from that site. Per The Impact Team, some information has already been made public and every day more will be released until Ashley Madison is shut down.
Ashley Madison has offered a service that will delete a user’s profile completely for $19 and while that service may remove the profile, The Impact Team has alleged that a user’s real name, address and credit card information are not deleted. This was apparently one of the motivations of the hackers – Ashely Madison’s representations that its’ users’ profiles would be deleted for the fee, when, in fact, The Impact Team alleges that this is not the case.
While there may be little sympathy for the Ashley Madison users who fell victim to this hack, given the nature of the site, everyone needs to remain vigilant about what information is given out online and to remember that most times “the Internet is forever.”