. . . or so the old proverb claims, anyway. It seems that applies to marital cheaters as well.
Ashley Madison, the website for people seeking extramarital affairs, has suffered a major cyber attack, with hackers threatening to expose the names of adulterers unless the site is taken offline.
The controversial online dating company, which has 37.5m users – including 1.2m Britons – carries the tagline: “Life Is Short. Have An Affair”. The service is founded on confidentiality and privacy, claiming to be a "100pc discreet service" and boasting a "Trusted Security Award" on its homepage.
The hackers, going by the name “The Impact Team”, posted a small sample of sensitive data (since taken offline), along with a statement demanding the takedown of Ashley Madison and Established Men, an online dating site that claims to connect "young, beautiful women with successful men".
Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison, confirmed the hack and apologised for "this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers' information".
"We have always had the confidentiality of our customers' information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world," the company said in a statement.
"As other companies have experienced, these security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system."
. . .
If their demands are not met, the hackers are threatening to "release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails”.
There's more at the link.
I can't help feeling a certain schadenfreude at the prospect. In the case of spouses who've been cheating their trusting partners, it's no more than they deserve. However, I'm also very sad to think of the number of otherwise sound relationships that will be destroyed if this happens.
When I was active as a pastor, I often encountered individuals who'd strayed from the path of marital fidelity as an isolated mistake, usually under circumstances such as a business trip where alcohol was involved in after-hours celebrations. I tried to help the individuals concerned, but usually advised them not to tell their spouses unless they were absolutely sure their marriage was rock-solid enough to survive it. In most cases where the truth came out, the breach of trust ended up breaking the relationship as well.
(Of course, that didn't apply if the guilty party was a serial adulterer, or was involved in a long-term consensual sexual relationship, deliberately and cold-bloodedly cheating on his/her spouse. If an individual was that far gone in lying, deceit and dishonesty, I tended to feel that they'd brought on their own heads whatever happened to them. I was far more sorry for their partner, who was invariably deeply hurt and traumatized when the facts came out - as they inevitably did.)
As for those who patronize Web sites like Ashley Madison, I can only remind them of the words of Jesus, echoed in almost every major religion and philosophy of life on Earth: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If I set out to deliberately cheat on and be unfaithful to my spouse, I have only myself to blame if that comes back to bite me and destroy my relationship with her. To quote another idiom, "What goes around, comes around".