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5 things we’ve learnt from the Ashley Madison hacking scandal

In July, Ashley Madison became the latest website to have their security vulnerabilities exploited when hackers threatened to expose the identities of its 37 million users.

The dating service, specialising in “discreet encounters” for those anonymously seeking an affair, joined Sony, Vodafone and Snapchat on the list of companies to have their users’ data compromised.

So two weeks on, what have we learnt from this? 

1. Crisis management is crucial

Less than 24 hours after the event, Ashley Madison released a statement assuring its members that they had closed any security holes that had allowed the data breach to occur. Yet a subsequent investigation by cyber security pioneer John McAfee, showed that this was not the case. Hardly reassuring for the site’s millions of users…

2. They are not the first and they won’t be the last

In recent years, companies have not taken cyber security as seriously as they perhaps should, with Apple, eBay and Vodafone amongst the growing list of targets. When even the world’s most trusted corporations are slipping up, it’s no wonder that consumers are concerned.

With credit card details, passwords and personal information at stake, the time for everyone to give cyber security the attention it deserves is long overdue.  

3. The motivation is changing

Hackers have long been thought of as faceless criminals, accessing your most personal information with a few strokes of the keyboard. But times are changing and a recent rise in politically inspired cyber crime has resulted in an emergence of ‘hacktivists’, pursuing sensitive data for alternative means.

Whether right or wrong, the dating site whose tagline is “Life is short. Have an affair” were the latest target of one of these groups. Without knowing their identities or motives, preventative security measures against future attacks are essential.


4. Don’t settle down in Ottawa

An amusing and slightly more absurd fact to emerge from the scandal is that nearly a quarter of the population of Ottawa are reported account holders. That’s nearly 200, 000 users in the Canadian capital alone.

The reliability of these statistics is up for debate, but there are likely to be more than a few suspicious spouses in Ottawa right now.

5. Now’s the time to work in cyber security

With companies now taking note, the demand for certified cyber security experts is higher than ever. If you think you have what it takes to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems, get ahead of the game and follow this exciting and lucrative career path.

To become a Certified Ethical Hacker, or to find out about our other IT qualifications, contact us today.