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

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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.

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

 

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Susan Kuhn // Facebook

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infidelity-adultery-ashley-madison-sql-injection-security-blackmail

godlesspinko // Reddit

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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.

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Colin Moriarty // Twitter

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

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Morgan Missen // Twitter

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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.

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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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  1. englishvinal

    July 22, 2015 at 2:14 am

    The rumor is that there are a whole gaggle of high level “politicians” and “officials” of the government on that data base….. Would you like to be that there is major indigestion taking place in the high dollar eateries in Virginia?
    “A tad on the green side are you honey?.. You must have eaten a bad oyster….. here have some strychnine it will settle you right down”.

    A lot of lawyers are going to pay for their kids college tuition on this one.

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Breaches

Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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Ethereum Prices on Track for 35% Monthly Drop

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It has been a difficult month for ethereum. The world’s No. 2 digital currency has lost a third of its value over the past 30 days following a series of cyber breaches targeting vulnerable wallets and ICOs.

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Ethereum Struggles to Regain Momentum

Ethereum (ETH/USD) was trading near $197.00 Sunday at 6:30 BST, according to Bitfinex. That represents a decline of around 5%. At current values, ethereum’s market cap was $18.4 billion.

The ETH/USD exchange rate has struggled throughout July, with prices briefly falling below $160.00. The decline, which amounted to a 60-day low, lured bargain-hunters back into the market. After surging back toward $250.00, the ETH/USD has consolidated below the $220-mark, which continues to offer strong resistance. On the opposite side of the spectrum, major support is located at $180.00.

A price recovery may prove elusive in the short-term, with the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic indicator signalling weak underlying momentum.

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Despite its recent decline, ethereum’s value has surged more than 2,200% this year.

Cyber Attacks, SEC Weigh on Market

The ethereum network suffered a large-scale cyber breach earlier this month resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. A community of ethical hackers quickly banded together to “rescue” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tokens.

Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also hijacked during an initial coin offering (ICO). The breach exposed Coindash’s ether wallet address, resulting in the loss of $7 million worth of ether.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also taken an interest in the ethereum-based ICO market. Last week, the regulator concluded that a certain multi-million dollar token sale last year violated securities law. Although ICOs have been compared to crowd-sourcing, the SEC maintained that some tokens were in fact securities.

Analysts say the SEC ruling could impact the future of ICOs, although it remains unclear how the regulator is pursuing this market. The SEC’s July 25 press release cautions investors about ICOs in general.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)


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