The Ashley Madison hack could have repercussions that go far beyond the basic questions of security and privacy. While the breach of the company's security measures reportedly did not reveal any credit card information, it has threatened to expose the secrets of many thousands of people.
Back when Adult Friend Finder went through a similar situation as Ashley Madison in May, questions were raised about the implications such a breach could have even for national security.
This kind of information is just the material that provided fodder for classic espionage efforts. When you have personal information, as well as specifics of sexual proclivities of a person, it makes it easier to have them at your mercy. A person found in those files to be in a sensitive position or even have low-level access to certain information could be vulnerable to foreign or even terrorist leveraging.
Ashley Madison. A website with 35 million adults seeking affairs. And you're worried about gay people ruining marriage.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) July 20, 2015
Cybercrime expert Charlie McMurdie said that kind of information the Adult Friend Finder breach revealed could be especially difficult for those exposed. Might this also be the case with the Ashley Madison breach?
“Where you’ve got names, dates of birth, ZIP codes, then that provides an opportunity to actually target specific individuals whether they be in government or healthcare for example, so you can profile that person and send more targeted blackmail-type emails.”
Of course, there are questions about whether the Ashley Madison breach is even legit. A Christian website released the names of 5,000 adulterers found on the released list of Ashley Madison clients. But one person who checked the list out maintains that those names just might be fake.
"I will say that I googled some of the less common names (or those I perceived to be more unique). Hardly any of the search results turned up actual people. I would think that those digitally savvy enough to go looking for an affair on a website would also likely have a Facebook account, twitter, instagram, LinkedIn, etc. 8 out of 10 turned up only around 4 pages of results, with many of them being the names of people deceased LONG ago."
I'm a divorce lawyer with working CTRL and F keys and the ashley Madison pastebin so I'm buying drinks tonight
— LESEan MCCOY EVENTS (@trillballins) July 20, 2015