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In Case You Forget: What The Ashley Madison Hack Reminds Us

This world we live in today has many conveniences. All these online tools, shopping sites, websites, computers in cars, mobile phones that act as your “take it on the road” office, medical records, online banking, college registration, social media – they make life’s tasks quick and easy. But all this technology and progress we see and experience in our everyday lives has created a tremendous amount of data that we now submit online, for a variety of reasons. As much as this creates convenience, the unintended consequence it also creates is a wealth of information in a place where it can be attacked or stolen much easier than when this information was offline. Recently, the Ashley Madison hack reinforced this idea.

The Ashley Madison hack is a good example of a business that collects a tremendous amount of personal data, including credit card information.  However, in this case, the more “costly” information to their customers in a cyber attack may not be monetary. It may be the embarrassing personal data that is more valuable to these customers.

We need to look at this from both perspectives, from the consumer and from the business point of view.

In this CNN video about the hack, CyberSponse CEO Joe Loomis asks two very good questions:

1. How well do we preserve our privacy and protect it?
2. How willing are we to put it out there on websites while we are trusting them (companies) with the security?

This attack should make all consumers and businesses re-think how they treat their privacy and how it is protected. This hack feels different than many of the others because it is not focused on just the monetary damage it can do. For the consumer in you, are you getting lax in how freely you give your personal data to companies, particularly information you would never want to see the light of day? For companies, what is your strong plan of defense that is ready to go when a cyber attack happens to your business? And is it enough? Are you doing all you can to, first, protect the data you collect and then respond to and defend against an attack? The “before, during and after” of an attack are all important. When customers give you their data, they’re also giving you a tremendous amount of trust.

Here are some additional videos and resources that discuss the recent hack and what it means in the world of cybersecurity:

VIDEO: Ashley Madison Hack, Joe Loomis Interview – CNN

VIDEO: Ashley Madison Hack, Joe Loomis In-Studio Interview – Fox 10 News Phoenix

Online Cheating Site AshleyMadison Hacked – Krebson Security

What the Ashley Madison Hack Means for Cybersecurity – Rolling Stone

Should Ashley Madison users worry about blackmail? – CNBC

What You Can Learn From the Ashley Madison Hack (Even If You Don’t Want to Cheat on Your Spouse) – Forbes