Many news sites and blogs are reporting that the data stolen last
month from 37 million users of AshleyMadison.com — a site that
facilitates cheating and extramarital affairs — has finally been
posted online for the world to see. In the past 48 hours, several
huge dumps of data claiming to be the actual AshleyMadison
database have turned up online. […]
I’ve now spoken with three vouched sources who all have reported
finding their information and last four digits of their credit
card numbers in the leaked database.
We associate the cost of hacks mostly with identity theft and
financial loss, from which most victims are pretty well insulated.
Target assessed the cost of that hack at $148 million; outside
financial institutions added another $200 million to that figure.
You may know someone affected by that hack, but the resulting
damages were likely mostly absorbed by their bank or credit card
company. It was unsettling, yes, but it wasn’t widely ruinous.
This, on the other hand, is basically unprecedented? Most leaks of
this size don’t implicate people in anything aside from
patronizing major companies. This is new territory in terms of
personal cost. The Ashley Madison hack is in some ways the first
large scale real hack, in the popular,
your-secrets-are-now-public sense of the word. It is plausible —
likely? — that you will know someone in or affected by this dump.
This feels like the plot from a movie — it’s hard to imagine a large scale hack that would create more schadenfreude than this.