Anti-Adultery Populace? Many Rooting For Hackers in Ashley Madison Breach

ashley-madison-cheating-gets-cheatedThe online adultery hub known as Ashley Madison, as readers are most likely aware, has had its entire database compromised and has given the website a deadline to either shut down or have its nearly 40 million users details made public. Though the site is categorically legal, and the hackers are without a doubt in violation of numerous laws, everyday citizens seem to believe this speaks to a higher law.

Judging by comments on various social media sites, it looks like people everywhere feel that a site like Ashley Madison deserves what it gets.


Susan Kuhn // Facebook
godlesspinko // Reddit
Brandy Lukas // Facebook

Not everyone feels this way. There is a dissenting group who believe that privacy is more important than morality, for this and all cases.

Colin Moriarty // Twitter

Still others took the opportunity to see the irony and make jokes to that effect.

Morgan Missen // Twitter
agent8am // Reddit

The site’s motto is, “life is short, have an affair,” and this if this is not brazen enough, they charge users who sign up for a free account to have their details erased. It is unclear why the company did not honor its promise to scrub all details from its database once a user had complied with the $20 ransom, but many feel it is unsurprising that a company that promotes dishonesty was not telling the truth.

A Large and Effective Blackmail Database?

Adding to the fiasco, the company’s position on the matter is that privacy and security are paramount to its business model. See here:

We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place.

Some are not buying it, saying that maintaining a secure SQL database is pretty standard practice. But that is not the heart of the matter for others. Rather it is the blackmail-like tactics employed by Ashley Madison for customers to exit the site, forcing them to pay a fee. Only to find out now that, according to the hackers, inactive account data is still within their database.

InfoSec Taylor // Twitter

While it is important to differentiate between those cheating and the places they meet, the sentiment everywhere is that infidelity will happen with or without the help of dating websites. At the same time, there is a certain moral reprehensibility to tagging onto the destruction of families and earning a handsome profit in the process. To this charge, site founder Noel Biderman said in a 2012 interview:

We can’t create consumption like most businesses. We can’t convince people to have an affair. We don’t try.

In the same interview, asked what how he would feel if his wife were to use Ashley Madison, Biderman was candid:

I would be devastated, but I wouldn’t blame a website or an inanimate object.

How do you feel about the Ashley Madison hack? Are these heroes or common cyber thugs? Do you believe this is an inside job, done at the behest of disgruntled employees or is there much more to the story? In the conspiracy wing of all this, there is a possibility of this having been a historically successful media stunt.

This is an important conversation in the West, where marital relations have fallen off in recent decades, some studies showing that more than 50% of marriages are now failing. Where do you stand? Are the hackers ethical, or hypocritical? Do those who were licensed to use the site by their spouses (open marriages) deserve to be “doxxed” alongside those who were clearly betraying their partners?

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Images from Shutterstock and noted websites.



P. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at