Friday 21 October 2016

No sympathy for cheaters but advice if you're caught out

Published 26/07/2015 | 02:30

'Up to 115,000 Irish people are facing public humiliation after Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to have an affair, was hacked'
'Up to 115,000 Irish people are facing public humiliation after Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to have an affair, was hacked'

Up to 115,000 Irish people risk being exposed by hackers but they should know what happens when you take a risk.

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If you have ever been caught cheating, chances are you know all about the curse of technology. That's the most likely way people get found out these days, isn't it?

Even if you guard your phone like a Praetorian - remember your partner only has to be lucky once, you have to be lucky every time.

So when news emerged last week that up to 115,000 Irish people are facing public humiliation after Ashley Madison, a website for married people who want to have an affair, was hacked, the first thought is 'that's karma baby' and the second: What the hell did they expect?

A group calling itself The Impact Team infiltrated the company's systems and posted a statement which claimed it had complete access to the company's database of members, as well as their financial records and other personal information. It threatened to publish the information online unless the site closes.

The group said: "We have taken over all systems in your entire office and production domains, all customer information databases, source code repositories, financial records, emails.

"Shutting down AM [Ashley Madison] and EM [Established Men] will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more: we will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails."

Irish people are among the top European users of the site - in total 2.5pc of Irish people were among the site's claimed 38 million users.

Avid Life Media (ALM), is the parent company for dating websites Ashley Madison, Cougar Life, and Established Men. Chief executive Noel Bidernman confirmed the breach and said the company was "not denying this happened".

One would presume that the first thing a company specialising in affairs would have done when caught in a compromising position is to follow the first rule of cheater's club and 'deny, deny, deny'.

There is an infamous story in south Dublin social circles about one man who took it to the extreme. His wife came home and caught him in the act with a young blonde. He walked straight out the door and returned home later that night to find his wife at the kitchen table. When she confronted him he stared back blankly and said "I don't know what you're talking about." Through all her protestations he still claimed it wasn't him. Eventually she dropped it and the pair continued on in the relationship in the blissful state of faux- ignorance.

But now the cat is out of the bag for ALM, there won't be too much sympathy for those about to be caught with their pants down.

It's one thing to send a private message or dirty picture to your mistress but to upload your personal details, sexual preferences, nude photos and then engage in private conversations on a site dedicated to 40m cheaters and not think it was a big pulsating target for impish and bored code-happy computer nerds is gallingly naive.

The reason celebrities are regularly targeted by hackers, their nude photos leaked online, is because they are well-known. They are on the radar for cyber terrorists.

Whereas 'Joe Bloggs' in Kilkenny will never have to fear suffering the same fate when sending naked shots to his mistress. His only concern will be a beady eyed 'Mary' watching him across the breakfast table. And one suspicious woman should be enough for any man to contend with.

But put yourself in a giant cyber room with 40 million lying, cheating partners and you're asking for trouble.

As an aside, if you are caught by your partner, one Irish serial player recently explained the best way out for him each time: "You turn it back on them," he says.

"How dare you look at my phone. How could I ever be in a relationship with someone who has no respect for my privacy? You simply refuse to engage with them because you're too angry. It blurs the lines between who is at fault and is much easier to save yourself from total ruin."

He explains some men have been known to claim the woman is a lesbian who didn't fancy them but only wanted to experience what it would be like to be with a man, but he says the story of 'The Judge' is still the one that goes down as legend.

Arriving home one day he found his wife in tears over an envelope of photos she had been anonymously sent which captured him in a tryst with a woman. Quick as a flash, he scooped up the photos, grabbed her by the arm, put her in the car and drove to the Garda station.

In a fit of rage he ordered her to "wait there" before storming off into the front door of the station. He goes out the back and calmly has a smoke before re-emerging a few minutes later. "Now," he snaps, switching on the engine to drive home, "We won't be hearing from her again. I don't want to here another word about that woman". And that was the end of discussion.

Still, something tells me a new generation of wronged partners won't be as easy to pacify.

Sunday Independent

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