Bryant and Stratton College Ethical Behavior and Social Norms Discussion Questions

Did they do the right thing releasing the personal information?

3. Are we in a position to judge their actions?

4. Is this a security violation?

Ashley Madison Incident- Cheaters’ Nightmare

-Anonymous , MSIS, Stratford University

We do not scan the world 24/7 just to find digital threats. We find them and destroy them. That is security on offense.

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Oh no. I am not in any way getting paid by Norton to say that on my blog. Advertisements like these are one of the most common ones that you would see when you use internet. This is the world that we have come to. Is it all about protecting yourself? We say security on the offense but usually we are the ones constantly defending ourselves. Defending from whom? Ourselves?

A recent incident which highlights another security issue is of Ashley Madison, a Canada based online dating service, which was targeted by hackers. The website provided services for people who were already married or in a relationship. Basically, it was a paid service to have an affair, hence the slogan, “Life is too short, have an affair.”

A group of hackers, called the “Impact team” stole all the existing user data and used it to threaten the Avid Life Media Inc. to shut down their operations for both Ashley Madison and Established Men.

They proved that they meant business by posting sample files on the Dark Net which contained company’s confidential information, but the management ignored the breach and continued the operations. The group of hackers who were against infidelity and did not approve of such unethical practice, kept their word by uploading 9.7 gigabyte data on the Dark Net earlier this month, which had data of up to 40 million users. People who are effected also include members of U.S government and military officials and infidelity is against their Code of Conduct.

The data included information such as addresses, phone numbers and passwords for the account along with the last four digits of the credit card for all the transactions. The hackers also condoned the business conducted by Avid Life Media and accused them of conducting fraudulent business against their customers by charging them a $19 fee for deleting their user data from the website which was an optional service chosen by many. Instead ALM did not delete the data and jeopardized the confidential information of the members.

This data breach also opens up window for other related scams for many who have doubts on their partners and could easily be lured into giving up personal information by clicking on the malicious links by scammers. Once the scammers gain access into the computers, they can do anything such as steal passwords, change/destroy confidential information, gain access to the bank accounts or even use information to blackmail curious spouses.

This havoc exposed another fact that close to 81,000 female accounts were traced back to the I.P address which belonged to Ashley Madison itself. So, these men who were forced to believe that they were having an affair with women were actually chatting with web robots (bots) or bored admins who created multiple accounts on the website from the home computer.

ALM recently released a statement that they have started an investigation against hackers who have committed this crime against people who were engaging themselves in having an affair, which by no means is illegal. The CEO, Noel Biderman of Avid Life Media Inc. had to step down after the breach. The organization has also announced a reward amount of Cad $500,000 for information about the hackers. On the other hand, the company faces many class-action lawsuits including one potential class action lawsuit filed by John Doe on behalf of U.S users for causing emotional duress.

Brian Krebs claims the likelihood of Ashley Madison hack could be performed by a Twitter user Thadeus Zu. This information on the hack has not been verified yet.

One unethical act gave birth to innumerous possibilities for immoral, unethical and illegal criminal activities such as identity theft, extortion and blackmailing. Sad but a reality that the occurrence is almost certain. I leave it up to the readers for them to decide whether this moral policing of hackers was justified or do you think there is a hidden agenda behind all this mess?

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