Summing up Internet Security in Two Words: Ashley Madison

So, you’re married. You want to have a fling, and you know how to use the Internet. Bam! There’s Ashley Madison.

According to a variety of sources, there’s a lot of hanky-panky going on out there. Statisticbrain.com says “57% of men said they’ve committed infidelity in a relationship they’ve had.” Gosh, I’d thought it’d be a lot higher.

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Several million men … and women … might be checking the Web a lot more now. The security breach at Canadian-owned Ashley Madison is causing quite a stir. Seems like some patrons had the misfortune of using their real names. That includes reality TV star Josh Duggar, who has been in freefall, reputation-wise, for a bit now. Just what he needs, more truth.

But he’s not alone. Thousands thought it was safe to venture out onto the worldwide hook-up highway only to get mowed down by a Mack truck. I bet there are a lot of nervous gents out there right now coming up with plausible explanations. Right.

From a public relations standpoint, this is a real humdinger. Sure, there have been breaches at Target, Anthem and the feds, but this one really hits home, literally and figuratively.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that people should not divulge their innermost secrets and desires on the Internet. This isn’t pillow talk, folks. Most of us don’t want to know about your proclivities for chocolate and whipped cream – really. I was quoted in a story recently as saying that once something is released into the digital divide, it’s on its way to Mars, without any chance of being called back to Earth.

I’ve got some advice for those of you who want to play in the digital landscape free from the protections you enjoyed in the old-world order:
• If you don’t want it out there, don’t write it or say it.
• How will that Twitter post read on tomorrow’s front page?
• The Internet is not a confessional at the local church. Things will go viral and that’s a fact.
• There’s really very little security online. Your system may be secure, but that’s not where the problem is most likely to start.
• The forward button is too easy to use. Thought it was a funny joke about Jared? Oops, it ended up on a group feed to 500 people, who, in turn, forwarded to another 1,500 people and then … well, you get the picture.
• Use the phone, it’s generally more secure. Though it is by no means perfect. Ask Monica Lewinsky about that.

Well, I need to get back to checking the Ashley Madison database. I wish I could remember my password.

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