Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lessons from the Ashley Madison Hack

Ashley Madison, the website devoted to brokering affairs for married folks, was recently hacked and their database of 37 million users laid bare to some nefarious group.  Now those 37 million are hanging out to dry, and waiting for what is next.  Will it be blackmail, embarrassment, divorce?  Who knows?  But it's coming.

Unfortunately, two big lessons were delivered in this hack.  The first of these fell on the cheaters, and that is that nothing and I mean NOTHING that you do online is safe.  Data on what you've done while connected exists somewhere, and it would actually take very little to bring it to the light of day.  Thus, if you want to leverage an online platform to ease your life of infidelity, so be it, but don't be surprised when the excrement hits the fan, as it is now.

The second lesson was to Ashley Madison themselves.  They failed to understand what they were selling.  On the surface, what they were selling was sex.  But when you dug deeper, what they were really selling was privacy and discretion.  As such, their processes and infrastructure had to be as state-of-the-art as possible, which they most certainly were not.  Now, would such a configuration been foolproof?  Hardly - anything can be hacked.  But they needed to make it as hard as possible.

They didn't.  They failed.  They've been hacked, and the "promise" they deliver to their "customers" has just been washed away.  

In the end, the company, and their customers, are all going to reap what they have sown.

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