Ashley Madison Slammed By Regulators

Over the next several days, I had chat sessions of varying length with 33 different women (hmm … With my wife watching TV on the couch a mere 10 feet away, here I was talking dirty to a 36-year-old married woman (who’s husband was probably watching TV on the couch a mere 10 feet away from her). Years after the massive data breach suffered by the infamous dating website Ashley Madison, a new extortion scam targeting users of the dating service has surfaced. In commercials and on the site itself, the company promises men that they will meet real women who want to have affairs. Recently the online dating site released subscriber numbers citing it has attracted 52.7 million users since its founding 15 years ago – which, of note, is a 50 percent increase from the 36 million it claimed less than two years ago, when the site gained some rather notorious traction for somewhat over-hyped security issues.

This is one of the few pieces of prominently displayed ‘information’ about ALM’s personal information handling practices accessible by prospective users when deciding whether to sign up. Given that this trust-mark goes to the reasonable user’s material consideration of security and discretion in these particular circumstances, it is our conclusion that its posting on Ashley Madison’s home page invalidated consent, in contravention of PIPEDA Principle 4.3.5.

This Ashley Madison extortion scam shares many similarities with the sextortion scam that has been ongoing since July 2018. This report identifies a number of contraventions of PIPEDA and the Australian Privacy Act, and provides recommendations for ALM to take to address these contraventions. Even clicking through to such a site from a Google search is nearly certain to infect your computer with serious malware that could harvest your bank account codes, credit card details and all your personal data, download masses of offensive pornography onto your machine without your knowledge, use it for illegal peer-to-peer sharing of pirated files and plunge you into a lifelong identity-theft nightmare.

A group calling itself The Impact Team was responsible for the 2015 hack on Ashley Madison. She looked for clues about which profiles were fake versus real , which was a challenge because many Ashley Madison users were probably trying to hide their real identities. According to the complaint, the website’s inadequate information security culminated in a data breach in July 2015, in which hackers published the personal information for more than 36 million users.

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