A few months ago, hackers made off with a ton of AshleyMadison.com’s data. In case you are an innocent in all this, AshleyMadison.com is a dating website that specializes in helping people cheat. Their slogan is “life is short, have an affair”.
The leading cause of death among people who cheat on their significant others (according to this blank piece of paper that I’m shaking at you Jon Stewart style) is being murdered by said significant others. So really Ashley Madison’s slogan is a self-fulfilling prophecy if your electronic cheating tool has bad enough data security.
There were initial speculations that the hackers could demand lots of money from people who had already demonstrated a willingness to pay money to pretend their problems didn’t exist. Instead, the hackers decided to say fuck it, and have just dumped the 10 gigabytes of data online for anyone to download and play around with.
It’s on the dark web. Using an Onion address. Accessible with a Tor browser.
If that last paragraph sounds like gibberish from CSI: Cyber, don’t worry. As a computer programmer myself, I can attest to the fact that we mostly just make up words.
But if you do know what those words mean, and decide to hack the Gibson for your very own Cheating Fucks Database, there are several impulses that you might have at the moment. First, you might be tempted to see if any of the credit card info still works and annihilate an anonymous (to you) cheating bastard’s credit. But remember, stealing an asshole’s credit card is a more punishable legal offense than being an asshole in the first place. Plus, there’s like a 90% chance that trashing their credit will just lower the inevitable child support payments for the kids whose name they barely remember. Think of the children.
Oh, and the hackers didn’t actually release the credit card numbers. Because they’re the classy sort of data thieves. So it’s really off the table anyway.
Second, you could track down the data and see if your significant other is in the system. But remember to check how common their name is first. Also, while you’re in there, connect the two systems and see if there is a systematic correlation between certain names and cheating. I bet there are a statistically improbable number of Carl’s in there. They know what they’ve done.
Third, you could just go and read the descriptions of what people were looking for in their partners. It’s the perfect combination of voyeuristic titillation, horror at 1% of the requests, and ennui at how mundanely repetitive the other 99% are. “Looking for excitement”? Oh how original and unique, I can’t imagine why your current relationship is inadequate given your complete lack of creativity and romance. Also, I wouldn’t recommend reading this part if you do find your partner in the data dump. Unless you want to learn how much he really does think about feet.
Here’s a screenshot of the note that the hackers posted with the data dump:
If you’re wondering how the site has a 95% male membership rate, that’s because, indeed, most people who sign up for it don’t actually get anywhere. They just try.
And if you’re thinking to yourself, ha, men are such disgustingly predictable creatures, then you might want to check that thought with the fact that the data dump also includes the accounts for EstablishedMen.com, which is a site that caters to young women who want to meet rich men “to fulfill their lifestyle needs”. No word yet on whether their slogan is actually “it’s not prostitution if your parents are middle class”.
In other news, most of Europe is rolling their eyes at us.