We’re talking a data breach totaling 37 million users.Because I’m a half-glass full kind of guy, I wondered whether Ashley Madison was truly as nefarious as it sounded.In the FAQ it specifically reminds users: “No, we do not pre-screen members….Anyone who is able to commit identity theft can also falsify a dating profile.” Got it, again. Still, the homepage felt very reassuring to me, with its three security badges promising a “100% discreet service.” Of course, that’s not true now that hackers are threatening to expose the pirated data if Ashley Madison and Established Men don’t close their doors.Millions of members who thought their extramarital (or at least extra-curricular) secrets were safe are now facing exposure. -- Be suspicious about any site that asks for your personal information, even more so when you’re asked to divulge what’s called “personally identifiable information” (including sexual fantasies).), which is called “Ashley Madison on the Down Low.” “Down low,” for those not familiar with the term, refers to presumably straight men who have sex with other men and then go home to their wives or girlfriends.
Maybe it’s simply a way to find friends with similar interests?That’s how it came to pass that (after telling my husband that I was writing this column), I joined.But in less than a minute someone with the handle “Monkey Fire” was chatting me up. Being a journalist on assignment, I did look for the fine print, which I suggest everyone one do when joining any membership site, but especially a hookup service.“Please read these terms carefully before using this site,” one warning reads in all caps.
Like millions of others this week, I’ve been reading the big hack stories about hookup site Ashley Madison, which targets men and women “who are married but need something more fun in their lives.” To put it bluntly, as the site’s motto does: “Life is short.Have an affair.”The bottom line, in case you’ve missed it, is that the site (as well as others owned by Avid Life Media, including Established Men) has been hacked, exposing all kinds of data from its users, including names, credit card information, sexual preferences, and photos.