Never mind Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Forget Alan Turing cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code. The hacking of dating site Ashley Madison has done the most damage. If you go outside and listen carefully, you can hear the distant sound of erections toppling over like shot giraffe.
Okay, so Ashley Madison isn’t strictly a dating site, although I do think that if two strangers get naked and filthy within five minutes of meeting, it’s still a form of dating. Extreme dating, perhaps.
The tag-line on their website, as everyone knows by now, is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” They may want to change it to, “Life is short. Have a divorce.” Lawyers are already referring to Christmas in September.
The site also says, “Ashley Madison is the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters.” Discreet is highlighted in red and italicised. Apparently that wasn’t clear enough for the hackers. As for the company’s claim of 39 470 000 anonymous members, well, they might want to make a couple of changes. For a start, replace “anonymous” with “anxious” or “mortified”.
When it emerged that the site’s security had been breached, every married woman in the world wanted to know if her beloved was on the database. Ninety percent of those signed up to the service are men. The phrase Members Only has never rung more true.
Although there probably are some wives on the site, women, married or not, generally don’t need to trawl the internet to get laid. They simply need go outside and smile at any passing man who takes their fancy. Perhaps do that thing they do with their eyebrows to help the slower ones get the message.
So who did the hacking? They call themselves the Impact Team and my gut tells me women are involved. There’s a vicious recklessness in this act of terror. But, speaking as a twice-married man, my gut has been wrong before. It could just as easily be a bunch of disgruntled husbands. Or religious zealots.
Noel Biderman, legendary lounge lizard and founder of the Toronto-based Ashley Madison, has without doubt made it easier for married people to cheat over the last 14 years. Would these people still have cheated had the site not existed? Probably.
Biderman might have broken hearts, but he broke no laws. Stone him. Don’t stone him. I don’t particularly care either way. He’s a money-grubbing douchebag.
I do think, though, that by acting as judge, jury and executioner, the crusading hackers are pretty much cut from the same cloth as the Islamic State. Meting out “moral” justice without allowing for mitigation? Shades of Sharia.
This week a community newspaper in Nelspruit posted two links, presumably as some kind of twisted public service, allowing people to check whether their spouse was on Ashley Madison. All you had to do was type an email address into a box. On a site called Trustify, you’d either be cleared or get a message saying, “You have been compromised.” Later, checking to see if any of my married friends had been compromised, I discovered the service had been “temporarily removed”. I tried the second link. This site warned, “Do not use the Trustify search site. They are recording email address searches and spamming/extorting people.”
Indeed, the potential for extortion has never been better and the hum of computers firing up from Lagos to Ljubljana is almost drowning out the sound of weeping women and laughing lawyers.
Before Trustify went down, so to speak, I typed in my email address and was duly notified that I had been compromised. I was asked if I’d like their help in protecting my information. I got the impression a fee might be involved. The other site also said my email had been found. They offered advice and said don’t trust Trustify.
Both sites were right. My email address was indeed registered with Ashley Madison. Oh, please. Don’t look at me like that. It was research. Seriously. I joined half a dozen dating sites earlier this year because I thought it might make good material for a column – a column, I might add, that appeared on May 3 in this very newspaper and in which I openly admitted to having signed up to Ashley Madison.
It went no further than that, but even if I had shagged someone else’s wife it wouldn’t have counted as adultery because I’m separated. Okay, fine. It’s a 50 shades of grey area.
Given the choice, though, I’d rather not get jiggy with married women. Not for any ethical or moral reasons, but because South African men are quick to resort to violence and I really can’t run that fast any more.
Things are getting nasty, with at least two reported cases of people killing themselves because of the leak. And two Canadian law firms have filed a $578m class-action lawsuit against Ashley Madison for failing to secure their site. In turn, Ashley Madison’s parent company Avid Life Media is offering a R5m reward for information about the hackers. There’s panic in the air and nobody’s getting laid. This is not good.
Fortunately, I have a solution. Well, technically it’s not mine. It belongs to a company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals and it’s a little pink pill designed to boost the female libido. The pill, taken daily, is called Addyi. It’s generic name is flibanserin. How ridiculous. If I had to invent a drug that restored sexual desire in women, I’d call it Yeehaa!
Addyi comes with side effects of fatigue or fainting if combined with alcohol or certain other drugs. Every woman I have ever known has, on at least one occasion, passed out or pleaded fatigue when I have sounded the Last Post and set about the ceremonial lowering of the broeks. In their defence, though, or perhaps in mine, drugs and alcohol were almost always involved.
My point – let’s call it a theory – is that married men might not be so quick to sign up to sites like Ashley Madison if their wives were able to boost their dopamine levels and show a spontaneous interest in bumping uglies.
On the other hand, there might be nothing wrong with your wife’s sex drive. She wants it, alright, just not with you. So while Addyi might very well awaken a ravening beast in your woman, there’s no guarantee you’ll be the beneficiary.
Meanwhile, estate agents everywhere have begun adding dog boxes to their listings.