Photo Source: screengrabbed from ashleymadison.com
Controversial dating website Ashley Madison, which targets married individuals, has been hacked -- and sensitive user information has been posted online, says its parent company Avid Life Media Inc.
The hackers, who go by the name “Impact Team”, claim to have full access to the company’s data base, including its users’ personal information – full names, addresses, financial information, sexual desires, nude photos, conversations, etc.
The Impact Team is threatening to release the data to the public unless the site permanently shuts down. Ashley Madison claims to have more than 37 million users.
“We apologize for this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information,” said Avid Media Life in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. “At this time, we have been able to secure our sites and close the unauthorized access points.”
Ashley Madison, with its slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.” was launched in the Philippines November last year. The slogan translates to “Ang buhay ay maikli. Mangaliwa.” in Filipino.
Why do people cheat? According to psychiatrist and life coach Randy Dellosa in an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, infidelity is one of the three most common relationship problems that couples experience, the other two being constant quarrelling and lack of intimacy.
When asked about the reasons why people cheat, Dellosa replied, "The easy answer is lust. We have a polygamous nature because biologically, we need to reproduce and procreate for our species.”
He acknowledges that infidelity also has its roots in a number of emotional, psychological, and even cultural reasons. For instance, infidelity could stem from already existing problems being experienced by a couple.
“Infidelity could be a substitute for getting one’s sexual and emotional needs met when the partner is unwilling or deficient. A cheating man, for example, would cheat on his spouse because he saw in his mistress some qualities that the wife does not have,” he says. “Sometimes, the partner would even wonder ‘why did he choose her?’ or ‘why did he have an affair with someone from a lower social status?’ However, it’s not that simple. As long as that other person is able to meet the cheating partner’s unmet needs, that person can become a substitute,” he explains.
Culprits known As of writing, the website AshleyMadison.com remains operational, although Avid Life Media claims that it has now identified the persons behind the Impact Team, according to The Guardian. “We’re on the doorstep of [confirming] who we believe is the culprit, and unfortunately that may have triggered this mass publication,” the company’s chief executive, Noel Biderman, told Brian Krebs of KrebsonSecurity, who was also first to report on the website’s breach in security last Sunday.
Sources: July 20, 2015. "Infidelity site Ashley Madison hacked as attackers demand total shutdown". theguardian.com July 20, 2015. "Hackers Target Users of Infidelity Website Ashley Madison". wsj.com July 21, 2015. "Cheating website Ashley Madison hacked, personal info posted". philstar.com