“Life is short. Have an affair.” – The Impact Team and Hacktivism

Just a few months ago there was worldwide pandemonium when a faceless online hacking team decided to reveal all the private details of controversial dating site users. The infamous AshleyMadison hack has since been known to have caused many a rift between couples on a global scale — one user was revealed to be cheating on their partner on-air for Sydney’s Nova 96.9, — especially since those caught out in the hacking scandal have been depicted as immoral in more ways than one.

The following infographic explores the AshleyMadison hack and how it affected a mass of individuals. With this in mind, is it fair to say that not all hacking is bad? Is this instance of hacktivism something to be proud of? Please discuss below.

Untitled Infographic-2


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23 thoughts on ““Life is short. Have an affair.” – The Impact Team and Hacktivism

  1. Hey, good post this week. Nice infographic, it’s pretty helpful to someone like me who hasn’t bothered to read about the AshleyMadison situation and somehow managed to remain uninformed, gives a nice basic understanding of what happened and why.

    This situation is interesting because it seems like the hacktivists acted for the right reasons but publishing the details of everyone involved could potentially have some fairly negative repercussions. Seems like all hacktivists have to, or should, carefully weigh the positive and negative effects of their actions then decide for themselves whether or not to go ahead.

    • Thanks for the comment, I am glad you liked the post and found it informative. I think that whilst it was positive in shedding light on the situation, I can also see the perspective of those who had all their personal details leaked. Hacking is certainly a double-ended knife in this sense!

  2. Really like the infographic, brief yet informative. Personally even though I believe that cheating is never ok, I also don’t agree with the reasons for why the hackers hacked the website releasing all the personal details. Should those people have been cheating? No, should people be on there trying to find someone to have an affair with, possibly breaking up a marriage? NO. But this is still something that should be dealt within the family and privately. While it is never nice to find out your significant other was cheating, or hoping to find someone to cheat with, I am sure many of the partners who were affected didn’t want the world to know it was happening. Not everyone is happy to name and shame the culprit. Also the leaks caused lots of people to go into such deep states of depression that there were suicides as a result, even incarceration awaiting a death sentence depending on where the offenders lived as adultery is still illegal in some countries. Admit2it relies on the fact that people can trust we will keep their identities anonymous when posting their stories, I would hate to think of the consequences (though maybe not as extreme) if the personal details of our users were ever released. There would certainly be a lot of red faces! Again, great blog and infographic.

    • Thank you for such a detailed and insightful comment! I agree with everything that you have said. Relationships are something that are personal and should be dealt with in that way. Before sharing information people need to be aware that won’t always just influence the life of one person but it may have a domino effect. I think that your digital artefact has demonstrated just how significant confidentiality is, you must value the trust of your users and I think you have proved that! Once again, thanks for sharing your views!

  3. Love your infographic, I found it really informative. I heard about the Ashley Madison case when reading Famous at work but I hadn’t actually looked into it at all. It’s definitely a classic case of blurred lines of ethics. I can see why the hackers may have done it, in no way, shape or form would cheating ever be appropriate regardless of how much the users paid to have their identities hidden. But at the same time everyone involved was exposed and I’m sure were subjected to some very negative and public consequences. I liked your inclusion of statistics – I had no idea there were 40 million users worldwide actively using the site to cheat on their partners. Although some may believe the hacker’s actions were immoral, it all would depend on your position in the scenario. Ignorance is bliss after all.

    • Thanks for the comment! I also agree with you, being ethical is often controversial and what one person considers to be morally sound another might not. I’m glad you enjoyed the infographic too!

  4. Ashley Madison is an interesting example for this ethics code hacktivist codes follow, that doesn’t necessarily line up with the standard moral codes. There was a moral violation the hackers felt, that because they are cheaters they deserved to be leaked and their infidelity and information to be posted online. Though they themselves violated a moral code, did they deserve to be violated themselves in that way? You were right in that this kind of controversy will stir up many different opinions, and no opinion is right or wrong, it just simply is. Hacking to reveal criminal or immoral acts is seen as allowed, but these users put their trust in confidentiality, and in an accepted environment. Underneath the ‘moral’ reason to reveal the bad, the intent became just as bad and immoral.

  5. really great infographic and i yeah its a weird situation where these hacktivists technically are releasing something that was already morally wrong. Its the same with Snowden etc as technically they are making governments more transparent with their choices now. so its a good thing. Well done with the blog

  6. I think the hackers’ intentions were moral and maybe they wanted to bring justice against the people having affairs. The fact they demanded the AshleyMadison and Established Men site to be taken down (http://www.afr.com/technology/ashley-madison-hackers-make-good-on-threat-to-reveal-cheaters-20150819-gj2da0) was definitely good I think. But personally my question is what right does anyone have to breach the privacy of others with the intention of exposing their faults, when they probably have many faults of their own? Anyway, there are a million ways to argue whether it was right or wrong, but I think the main focus is that we have such a powerful tool (the internet) in our hands, and hackers can use it for good intentions, exposing truths that people like us never would have suspected. Whether this will cause more good than harm… it all depends really.

    Great post Mel! Short, sharp, and sparking lots of conversation.

  7. In this case I find the hacking to be completely acceptable. I’m sorry, but if you are going to have an affair why on earth would you parade it around on the internet, not that I’m condoning adultery, it just seems silly. Some hacking is acceptable in my eyes when the goal comes from a good place. Ashley Madison was and is a questionable website and I feel like the hacking and reveals would have been extremely painful for many people, but wouldn’t you rather know then to be left in the dark?

  8. Ahsley Madison was a good example for hacktivism 🙂
    I never really understood why this site was made I mean if you are going to have an affair why get in a relationship in the first place!
    I think hacking is an invasion of privacy however in this case for the people on Ashley Madison I say they probably had it coming to them

  9. Really good infograph! I had no idea about the AshleyMadison hack but thanks for bringing it to light. In this instance I think its easy to say that hacktivism is the hero as the people registered on the site are committing essential a ‘social’ crime by cheating on their partners. However I agree with Mathew Robinson in his early comment that this could have negative effects and could turn the persons in potential targets.

  10. I think Ashley Madison is a great recent example of hacktivism and you could even bring ethics on both sides of the situation. Should they expose these men who were looking to cheat on their wives and at the same time the men shouldn’t have done it in the first place as someone above said it is essentially a ‘social’ crime. Awesome infographic, great job!

  11. The Ashley Madison hack was a huge deal that raised a lot of questions about the positives and negatives of bringing information such as this to light. It’s definitely a good discussion you’ve kicked off (especially judging from the other comments) and your infographic is very good at highlighting the basics of the hack to enable a dialogue. Well done 🙂

  12. I too thought of the Ashley Madison hack as a way to exemplify the negative ways that a hackers mind can work. I very much focused in on the hacker themselves. These hackers are opening a world of no censorship, essentially a free world. I’m not sure if this motivation is exciting or scary. Either way the more people learning to hack the more the government needs to censor. Good work on generating such a large discussion.

  13. Great blog! Your explanation on hacking was pretty simple and straight forward which made it easier for me to understand your stand within this context. Though hacking might have been something useful back then – in order to steal or borrow computing materials to further expand on the Internet-these days it is considered mere nuisance to consumers out there. I mean people could just hack into your bank account and rob you in mid-daylight. Hacking has definitely caused indirect harassment to many individuals, hence why we have to be careful by protecting ourselves and our informations online.
    A tip: do not login from an outside computer as they would have accessibility from your previous transactions.

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