(Rich Galen, Mullings.com) – I don’t know whether I’m proud or embarrassed to say that until last week I had never heard of AshleyMadison.com.
Having said that, I am absolutely certain mine is not one of the email addresses that are now floating around opposition research firms looking for names of candidates; names of friends of candidates; names of donors to candidates; or anyone named Carlos Danger.
For those who have forgotten, Carlos Danger was the stage name of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner – husband of the woman known as “Hillary’s Shadow,” Huma Abedin.
When “Carlos Danger” came to light I Tweeted, “I am changing my Twitter handle from @richgalen to @escobar_vulnerable.”
But I never did.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Ashley Madison.
For someone as connected and hip as I am (is it still hip to be hip, or is there another word that means “hip?”) it is amazing that I had no idea about this whole hook-up-by-credit-card deal.
It turns out that AshleyMadison.com is a dating site aimed at married people who want to have an affair. On the home page they claim “38,920,000 anonymous members.”
They might want to adjust that copy.
The site also claims it has earned a “Trusted Security Award,” is a “100% discreet service, and is an “SSL Secure Site.”
The story was broken by a former Washington Post cybersecurity reporter, Brian Krebs, about a month ago:
“Large caches of data stolen from online cheating site AshleyMadison.com have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the company’s user databases, financial records and other proprietary information.”
At least there were 39 million users. By today there are probably 17 total – all of whom have left “Out of Office” replies saying something like: “I will be taking a canoe trip down the Amazon for the next two weeks and will have no access to email, cell phone service, or Ashley Madison inquiries.”
Wait’ll they get home.
For myself, my data has been hacked from DoD databases, from the Office of Presidential Personnel database, from my Blue Cross database and judging from the ads being served on every webpage I visit, the fact that I looked at buying a Timex watch ($49.99) on Amazon last week, is well known to every on-line marketer in the near solar system.
There is nothing about me – my health, my government service, what I might have bought at Target – nothing that is not known to Vladimir Putin, a bunch of guys smoking fake Marlboro cigarettes in Beijing, and a kid with a 1987 IBM-PC in Kiev drinking from a bottle of the Ukraine vodka equivalent of Three Buck Chuck.
I think the answer to all this is to simply put up a website that has all of everyone’s information. I mean, other than being able to hack into my ATM account, what could you possibly want to know about me that I wouldn’t want you to know?
Ok. There was that time in Marietta, Ohio 45750 when I had taken my last exam and finally – after 7½ years – qualified for my bachelor’s degree and the cops had to drive me (and my car) home. But that was in the early 1970’s so I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has run on that caper.
But, now that’s out, so my life is an open book.
I may, this weekend, print out all the information about me that has been stolen and tack it to the front door of Mullings central. Maybe three copies: English, Russian, and Chinese, just to improve the efficiency of the whole thing.
Sort of a latter day Martin Luther tacking his 95 theses to the church door.
I couldn’t figure out how much the services of Ashley Madison costs. I didn’t want to spend too much time on the site for fear of crowding out the Timex ads.
With 39 million members reaching out for contact, I wonder how many times there was a Rupert Holmes result:
So I waited with high hopes and she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady and she said, “Oh, it’s you?”
Do you like Piña Coladas?
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.