Archive for July, 2015

Avid Life Media hack

Monday, July 20th, 2015

If you haven’t read this one yet, then do so now:

Online Cheating Site AshleyMadison Hacked

This is interesting on so many levels!

  • The data that was apparently exfiltrated is about people cheating on their spouses. There is a delicious moral irony involved in the possible release of this.
  • At the same time, this is a criminal event. Proprietary and personally identifying data was stolen. Theft is theft, even if it’s just a copy of data and even if it’s used to shame cheaters.
  • A company in this line of business should surely make security paramount. That they kept plaintext data with PII – including sexual fetishes and compromising photos around – is simple incompetence, applied at an industrial scale.
  • The attack seems to have been perpetrated by an insider. The ALM people seem to think they know who did this, and imply it was a contractor of some sort. If this doesn’t cry out for Privileged Access Management then I don’t know what does.
  • The societal impact of this hack could be huge. Imagine what happens if this data set is published and tens or hundreds of thousands of divorces, family breakups and job terminations ensue. That could make this the most impactful hack in history, in terms of financial and personal harm. Family lawyers will be in the money from years as a result.

It’ll be interesting to see how this story unfolds in the coming days.