The Ashley Madison hack may have been all fun and games to start out. Shining a lighting on lying husbands and wives engaging in infidelities by way of this website, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair” seems like a good dose of justice…until things spiraled out of control, of course.
The massive hack took place on July 20 by a group identified as the Impact Team that threatened to release a plethora of personal information belonging to the users, including credit card information if the website was not shut down. The team lived up to their threat and released the client list which contains the email addresses of over 30 million users.
The users may be cheaters, but this hack did more than just reveal them for what they might be. Three suicides have now been linked to the incident and the website is offering a reward worth half a million dollars for any information on the hackers, so that they may be brought to justice.
One confirmed suicide involves the death of San Antonio police captain Michael Gorhum after his email was leaked as part of the Ashley Madison client list. It is not certain that the leak was the reason for the suicide, but an aggressive investigation is underway.
Former prosecutor in the Casey Anthony case Jeffrey Ashton was also one of the names leaked on the list, and he recently came clean about his involvement. He claimed he was simply “indulging his curiosities,” but he never went as far as to cheat on his wife. The father of four addressed his decisions in a press conference on Sunday, saying “I want to publicly apologize to each of them for this embarrassment and this blatant disregard for their feelings… I was taught that when you do something wrong, you stand up and you say, ‘you did.'”
In a scramble to discover who else’s emails have been leaked, it has been realized that more than 15,000 government addresses are included. However, Toronto police have warned that in trying to identify the users, people may be subjecting themselves to dangerous malware and viruses on their computers, phones, and other devices.
Toronto Police acting staff-Supt. Bryce Evans spoke on the incident saying, “This hack is one of the largest data breaches in the world,” Evans said. “This is affecting all of us. The social impact behind this leak, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about children, we’re talking about wives, their male partners.”
Unfortunately, the repercussions of these hackers’ actions are causing a fallout of massive proportions. I can not imagine they intended for anyone to harm themselves, but these are the realities of the case, not to mention possible hate crimes and criminal extortion. All anyone can do now is hope that nobody else commits suicide due to the leak and that the hackers are caught, immediately!