PoSARC's inbox was full the past few days with e-mails coming in from readers wanting to share the news: the world's largest married cheaters website, Ashley Madison had been hacked by insiders who called themselves The Impact Team.
The hacking team gained access to almost 40 million website members' personal data, including their names, addresses, credit card numbers and even their sexual preferences, causing the site to immediately suspend operations as panic ensued.
The Impact Team is insisting that the website owner, Noel Biderman dismantle business operations of both Ashley Madison and another site he owns, "Established Men". That site arranges for young women to hook up with "established men" in exchange for money to help pay off college and other bills. In other words, it encourages financially-challenged young women to prostitute themselves to men, I mean johns.
The hackers, (or ninjas, whichever you prefer) intend to leak more of the client's names every day that Ashley Madison remains in operation, premised on their allegation that the site's owner charged members over a million dollars in fees to "erase" member profiles when requested to. The Impact Team says profiles are never deleted, as evidenced by their access to all those names now.
Putting aside that hacking is a Federal offense, one could also see this "heist" by The Impact Team as a bold public service gesture promising to unravel a maelstrom of marital chaos in many a cheater's shadowy lives.
The Impact Team, driven by ethical motives and not financial ones called Ashley Madison members "cheating dirtbags who deserve no discretion".
It probably goes without saying that you'll get no argument from us over here.
I remember the first time I heard the name Ashley Madison: a POSA I knew called me one Sunday afternoon some years ago, hysterically crying and barely comprehensible, saying that during her husband's recent 45-day sex addiction rehab, a fellow addict there shared Ashley Madison's website with him and bragged about the ease of cheating there.
The sex-addicted husband was fantasizing for weeks while in rehab with the lure of discreet sex on the side once he got out. When his 45 days were completed, his phone was handed back to him and he immediately began creating his profile on Ashley Madison while on the plane ride home to his faithful wife. Before his plane even landed, sexy photos of young women were bombarding his inbox.
Months ago, this hopeful, supportive and pregnant wife had taken on a second job, waitressing nights and weekends to supplement the income from her full time job, all so this hubby could finally find healing in "sex addiction treatment" and they could then be truly united as their first child was born.
Just hours after he uploaded his Ashley Madison profile, this sex addict's $42,000, six-week rehab experience was rendered worthless. His POSA wife went into the shock and betrayal trauma we see here every day.
I then did some research into the Ashley Madison website and found a video link to the popular daytime TV talk show: The Tyra Banks Show.
I watched as Ashley Madison's founder, Noel Biderman and his wife were interviewed by the talk show host. They smiled broadly at her while ingenuously defending their infidelity website claiming that what they were doing wasn't immoral at all- they were "only helping cheaters do what they would do anyway". Huh? Even Tyra was incredulous.
What galled me the most was how smugly this married couple crowed that their new company just had to be serving a willing and eager demographic, since they were already raking in 42 million dollars a month.
Talk about blood money.
In the years since that heartbreaking POSA story, we have heard the name of that website almost every single day here from those whose lives have been devastated by that name and its imitators. Oh yes, its success has spawned a plethora of new infidelity websites, all hopeful to cash in on Ashley Madison's success.
As of today, 2500 cheaters thus far have had their personal details exposed by The Impact Team which leaves only 36 million and change yet to go. Sweet revenge? We can only fantasize.
This week, all POSAs everywhere might be enjoying a touch of schadenfreude, a German word meaning "to take delight in another's misery". Oh, I know, it's terribly unspiritual of me to suggest taking delight in other's misery but truth be told, I've never held a spiritual thought about infidelity and those who cheat so casually.
It's impossible to take the spiritual high road when we hear about the broken families and deadly STD's every day-- today I spoke to a woman whose second round of chemotherapy wasn't working and her doctors are helping her brace for the worst. She has two kids under the age of five. Her husband is a client of the sacrilege known as Ashley Madison.
It's a very common story around here, tragically.
I can also imagine the rehearsals of millions of cheaters, practicing damage control speeches to their spouses if their names are outed. Will they say, as so many sex addicts do, "I didn't actually cheat- my curiosity just got the better of me and I was just looking"?
God only knows what other spin control is already being formulated in the minds of those for whom lying is already a well-worn habit.
So, you may ask, do I hope The Impact Team continues to expose the personal details of millions of cheaters?
First: to help vindicate every single POSA who has ever run herself ragged trying to figure out what her partner is doing online and losing that battle. Let this security breach sharply awaken those who feel entitled to carry on these illicit behaviors undetected forever.
Two months ago, AdultFriendFinder was hacked, yesterday it was Ashley Madison, and tomorrow.....?
If data leaks like this help faithful spouses escape from marriages to those who think nothing of devastating their hearts, minds and bodies, exposing them to potentially deadly diseases, who think nothing of spending marital assets on extramarital activities, then YES, I say bring on the public exposure en masse!
We know that over a decade ago, neuroscientists concluded from brain imaging studies that when their subjects imagined punishing those who behaved unfairly, it activated the same reward circuitry in the brain as using cocaine. In non-scientific terms: fantasizing about revenge feels good!
Clint Eastwood was all about that in Dirty Harry when, with his gun drawn, he famously says to the evil guy, "Go ahead, make my day".
Dear Impact Team: You've made our day!
Yours Truly, Team PoSARC
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