You find your way to the dating website Ashley Madison because either you’re married - or attached - but still want to date secretly - without worrying that your spouse or significant other will find out.
So imagine when the website that advertises itself as an online meeting place for cheaters gets hacked on a massive scale.
“From a marital, practical standpoint, it’s certainly going to be embarrassing. However, there were already cracks on those marriages,” Nicolle Noonan, a Manhattan-based divorce attorney, said.
Noonan said there is certainly a good chance the phones are going to be ringing off the hook at the offices of lawyers, marriage therapists, and other divorce related professions.
But jilted spouses shouldn’t expect the Ashley Madison will lead to a big payday.
“Courts is now a court of equity. It’s no-fault in every state in the nation. So a judge is really not going to care whether or not you were cheated on. You’re not going to financially gain anything from it,” Noonan said.
How serious are the hackers - who call themselves “The Impact Team?"
In an online post, they write:
“We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names, addresses, and employee documents and emails.”
Ashley Madison boasts some thirty-seven million users with an estimated hundreds of thousands of them living right here in our area.
“The state of the internet, the state of technology is so porous, so weak, that I’m really surprised that these attacks didn’t happen last year, or the year before. What will see happening, in the next three, six, nine, twelve months is more attacks, bigger attacks, because the state of internet security is an oxymoron - it does not exist,” said tech analyst Raj Goel.
It is still unclear how the hackers pulled off the breach.
But Ashley Madison executives suspect someone with former access to its systems may be responsible.
“You really cannot. Insider theft, whether it’s embezzlement, insider fraud, to stealing data and selling to a competitor, or walking out with companies’ financial, that’s been going on as long as we’ve had companies. It’s a fact of human nature that the people you trust the most will general do you the most harm,” said Goel.
For its part, the dating website sent PIX11 a statement, which reads in part, “We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information.”
“At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points. We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act.”