Life Is Short, Hack An Affair

August 24, 2015

Life is short, hack an affair?

The recent Ashley Madison hack highlights the concern that even sites whose actual gimmick demands high security are not even safe from hackers. There could be a lot of reasons why someone (or a group) would want to invade a site specifically like Ashley Madison. I don’t want to get caught up in the moral debate whether or not the customers of that site deserved it or not. I’ll just say I was not a member.

The point is that a site that depends on complete privacy for everything it’s members do, say and write has been hacked to the furthest degree. Not just credit cards. As seen by former reality TV star Josh Duggar’s hacked profile, intimacies like the details of the kind of sexual encounter he was seeking were also stolen and then released to the public.

It would be like someone breaking into one’s home and stealing a bunch of valuable stuff. Jewelry, collector coins, antiques, etc. But while they are there, they also grab a diary. There’s always valuable stuff in a diary! They bring it home and looking through the diary they read that this person has been hiding something from their spouse. Like, say, an extramarital affair. Now, this can be used as leverage in at least a couple ways. One, the burglar could mail the diary to the spouse who has been cheated on and tell them to look at the bookmarked page to find out for themselves. Second, a little note could be mailed to the cheating spouse telling them their little secret is known and the burglar is now using it as leverage to violate this family further.

hacker as burglar

We see someone breaking into our home as wrong every single time. If they were to discover and disclose an affair one is having with their spouse, we would empathize with that cheated spouse but we would still keep most of the focus on the burglar. This is one of the tricky things about the modern burglary, called hacking. It’s done by an anonymous person, sitting in their house. Total anonymity. There’s no dusting for fingerprints. Today’s hackers have an easier time concealing their identity than yesterday’s house burglar. The policing of this stuff has just not been perfected yet to any significant degree. So we have to police ourselves.

See that hacking is wrong. It’s immoral and illegal. Furthermore see that when you get hacked it’s not a simple process of prosecution. We don't just call 911, have the local police officer come to our house and arrest the bad guy and take him to jail. You have to be your own cop. A preventative cop. All over the world there are computers (including smartphones) and they each represent a respective direction from which a burglar could come. You need a policy in place on how to protect yourself from that potential threat.

More on that in the next chapter.


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