Carstens: Ashley Madison hackers caused unnecessary damage

Courtney Carstens

Trust is essential to every relationship you have, but what happens if this important piece of your relationship is dismantled — not to mention by a third party outside of the relationship? It’s a unique situation to be in, and, in light of the recent Ashley Madison scandal, millions are now facing this very sensitive question head on. is a website that is designed to match married individuals with the perfect person with whom they can have an affair — a dating site gone wrong. This ridiculous, unethical and unhealthy website claims to have more than 30 million users, drawing them in with the slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Our generation as a whole has allowed things like affairs to become common when in reality it’s thoughts like these that ruin the moral structure of our society. Choosing to avoid pivotal issues within a relationship by having an affair turns into a vicious cycle and will leave a lot of devastation in its wake for all involved.

On July 20, an infamous hacking group known as the Impact Team hacked the website, releasing millions of users’ information including real names, lists of sexual fantasies, matching credit card transactions and email addresses. Roughly 15,000 of the leaked email usernames were hosted by federal government and military servers. The company that owns Ashley Madison, Avid Life Media, is offering a $380,000 reward for anyone coming forth with information that leads to the arrest of the hacking group.

While this black-hat group — which specializes in bypassing internet security — seems to be trying to do a good thing by exposing this crude website and its users immoral actions, its illegal tactics have resulted in shame for not only the users of the site but the hackers as well. When the hacktivists released information from this horrible website, they themselves committed an act, and consequences were damaging.

People’s lives and reputations have been shattered. The families of some of these cheaters are now divorcing, causing huge emotional problems for the couple and, if kids are involved, this could potentially traumatize them, as well.

Professionally, some individuals could lose jobs over this scandal. Who really wants an untrustworthy individual working in their company? In return, without a job to support themselves and their families, these users and their family members may face financial problems. Those financial problems then not only affect the families, but the communities around them as well.

One prime example of this is the huge controversy concerning former 19 Kids and Counting star, Josh Duggar. Duggar has already been identified as a child molester — rightfully so considering his own sisters came forward as two of his victims. Ultimately, the Ashley Madison scandal has only increased the severity of his particular situation.

The psychological impacts of these hacks have already become blatantly apparent in low-profile cases. There have been several reported suicides that have yet to be directly linked as consequences of this scandal, but they are allegedly related. Those black-hats hackers weren’t the least bit considerate of the millions of lives that were ruined.

The group that leaked Ashley Madison usernames did not likely consider the ramifications that their actions would have on millions worldwide. The hacker’s took it upon themselves to right the wrongs of the website and to expose the millions of cheaters. While infidelity is a serious situation which warrants serious consequences, the hackers’ actions overstepped their boundaries. The negative impact they are having on society is outweighing any good intentions they may have had.

The site is nothing to endorse because our world has blurred the lines of what cheating is, what being faithful means and what being in a healthy relationship is all about. This scandal is a direct cause of these toxic ideals of society.