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Accounting Systems

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The Ashley Madison Data Breach
Ashley Madison is a controversial online dating service whose target market is specifically people who are already in a relationship or even married in some cases but still want another relationship on the side. So essentially it is an online cheating service for polygamists and those who decide it is a good idea to have an affair. Ashley Madison is also known for their extortion style tactics that require the owner of the email address registered to the account, even those made without the owner’s consent, to pay a fee of $19 dollars in order to delete their account. It is alleged that Ashley Madison received on average $1.7 million a year from affair-seekers that wished to “fully delete” their account. On July 15th 2015, an anonymous hacktivist group by the name of “The Impact Team” announced the cyber-attack on Ashley Madison and threatened to publicly release stolen data containing personal and financial information of the website’s user base if the website was not shut down immediately. Ashley Madison did not comply with their demand and as promised the “The Impact Team” began releasing the stolen data and by the end of August, 32 million users had their information leaked. These hacktivist vigilantes didn’t just randomly attack Ashley Madison. They purposely targeted Ashley Madison because of their taboo business practice of arranging affairs and “profiting off the pain of others”, all while touting many false promises to their user base. As it turns out, Ashley Madison failed to “fully delete” user’s personal information as promised, even after they paid $19 dollars for the deletion service, and this was cited as one of the main reasons for the cyber-attack. Ashley Madison used the controversy surrounding their taboo business approach as a way to market their service and it worked but they failed to see the high security risk...

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