On Tuesday, a hacking group known as Impact Team finally made good on their promise to leak 9.7 GB of Ashley Madison user data to the public. The data includes millions of names, addresses, credit card numbers and profile information of registered users of the website designed for married dudes (and ladies) who are looking to step out on their spouses.

The group posted that because parent company Avid Life Media had failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men as previously demanded, it had decided to leak the data as revenge:

We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.

Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.

Find yourself in here? It was ALM that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.

Sure, time heals all wounds/finalizes all divorces, blah blah. But I bet you don’t have a lot of long-game patience if you’re one of the unlucky subjects of the hack. If that’s you, determining your immediate game plan depends a lot on your professional and personal goals. Let’s break it down.

Are you a journalist?

Oh baby, this is the dream. First of all, we haven’t yet seen the think piece from the angle of “I was outed in the Ashley Madison leak and my marriage has never been stronger,” so I would encourage you to write and publish that post haste.

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Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to test whatever relationship you are currently in with the revelation that you actively tried to leave it, you should quickly finish an article about going undercover on Ashley Madison (to expose the aforementioned fraud or whatever), obtain access to a CMS system, and retroactively publish it for like eight months ago. Then you can point to the article when you’re discovered and be like, “Oh, honey, you simple woman. Let daddy do his job.”

Are you a (relatively high-up) government employee?

The chances of this being the case are actually relatively high, given that Washington D.C. has the highest rate of membership of any city (and correspondingly, the hack released over 15,000 .gov or .mil email addresses).

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So, it depends how important you are. If you are important enough that people would want to frame you, rely on that and rely on that hard. Since you can theoretically register with whatever email you want, people are registering with whatever email they want:

Some GPS data was released (related to where they logged into their accounts), so just make sure you didn’t try to cheat on the premises of the White House or the Capitol. If you did, have your assistant book a one-way trip to the Canary Islands because you are about to be the center of a very entertaining media storm.

Do you earn financial or social capital from being religious or otherwise publicly moralizing?

Haha, cool. Send me an email.

Are you in an unhappy marriage and a low-visibility career?

Punt that shit. This is the out you’ve been waiting for. If your significant other hasn’t sifted through the digital tons of data enough to locate your identity, maybe create a fake gmail account and send an anonymous tip. Something like: “Wow, Jed is a real dick.” Embark on a life free from marital restrictions. Send Impact Team a thank you note, because that is good manners.

Are you in a happy marriage but are also interested in experimenting sexually with other people?

Have a fucking conversation with your partner. A conversation about fucking.


Contact the author at joanna.rothkopf@jezebel.com.

Image courtesy of Ashley Madison.