Ashley Madison Hackers Post the Site’s User Data

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Happy Friday! Remember when cheating site Ashley Madison was hacked last month? And how the hackers threatened to release user data to the whole Internet?

Well, they’ve finally done it. The Impact Team, as the group of hackers is known, put the data online on the Dark Web, which can only be reached using specialized equipment. They dumped a jaw-dropping 9.7 GigaBytes (GBs) of data that went back to 2008.

(For context/scale, I have a 4 TeraByte (TB) external hard drive that I keep old school projects and work on. I’ve had that thing for over 6 years, and still haven’t filled it up. One TB is equal to .001 GBs. So you can imagine how voluminous this data breach truly is.)

There seems to be some disagreement over exactly how many users had data leaked. “CNN Money” claims 32M, while “Wired” and “Engadget” put the number closer to 37M.

As of July, Ashley Madison claimed to have 40M+ users.

Ashley Madison data dump (Gizmodo)

Ashley Madison data dump (Gizmodo)

Among the metrics leaked were users’  names, addresses and phone numbers. “Wired” looked into some initial data analysis:

A sampling of the data indicates that users likely provided random numbers and addresses, but files containing credit card transactions will yield real names and addresses, unless members of the site used anonymous pre-paid cards. One analysis of email addresses found in the data dump also shows that some 15,000 are .mil. or .gov addresses.

Passwords were broken by “hashing,” or breaking into the algorithm a site would use to protect passwords. The hackers used the “bcrypt” algorithm used in web development language PHP. This is usually a secure measure to protect passwords. But hey, at least Ashley Madison tried:

It’s notable, however, that the cheating site, in using the secure hashing algorithm, surpassed many other victims of breaches we’ve seen over the years who never bothered to encrypt customer passwords.

Have a great weekend, and go change your passwords!

#ThrowbackThursday: Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (The Clarion Review)

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (The Clarion Review)

Here’s someone you might not have learned about in history class: British musician Violet Gordon-Woodhouse was born on this day in 1872. She’s known for bringing the harpsichord back into popularity, and used it to make some records. Gordon-Woodhouse was the first person to make a harpsichord recording, and the first musician to broadcast a performance with the instrument.

But her story is also infused with sexuality. She married Gordon Woodhouse in 1895, taking both his names for her professional one, and finagled a marriage very beneficial to her needs: She insisted on time to pursue her career, and to open the marriage. At one point, Gordon-Woodhouse’s menagerie of men swelled to three others besides her main husband. (Sadly, I couldn’t find any photographic evidence of this ménage a cinq.)

I first read about Gordon-Woodhouse in Betsy Prioleau’s 2004 book, “Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love.” (It’s a great book, if you’re interested in learning about women taking a no-holds-barred approach to their life and loves.) We should all aspire to lead our lives as open as Gordon-Woodhouse did.

Emoji Users Have More Sex

Sexytime emojis (NY Mag)

Sexytime emojis (NY Mag)

Happy Friday! [Insert hallelujah hands emoji here!]

If you don’t use emojis in everyday text-speak, you might want to start. Science shows that emoji users have more sex. And don’t you want to be part of that group? [Winking emoji]

Dating site Match.com released a wide-ranging study, Singles in America 2015, earlier this year. The study surveyed 5.6K singles (none of whom, incidentally used Match) in their 20s, 30s and 40s that represented the U.S population according to the 2010 Census. It has some pretty interesting findings, but the emoji one is gold.

For real, the Match researchers found that singles who use emojis have more sex than singles who don’t.

Cultural anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, one of the leaders of the study, found that “54% of emoji users had sex in 2014 compared to 31% of singles who did not.” [Fist-bump emoji]

There was also a direct correlation between how many emojis a single person used and how much sex they had:

Match.com 'Singles in America 2015' Emoji Survey Graph ('Time' Magazine)

Match.com ‘Singles in America 2015’ Emoji Survey Graph (‘Time’ Magazine)

Another benefit to emojis: “women who use kiss-related emojis have an easier time achieving orgasms with a familiar partner.” [Eggplant (or banana) and fireworks emojis here] This suggests that these women value good communication.

As for the emojis themselves, it mentions that the most commonly used ones are the wink (53%), smiley face (38%) and the kiss (27%).

The study showed that people tend to use emojis to show personality, which 50% of single men and women agreed on. Thirty-five percent of singles said that emojis make “expressing feelings” easier.

Fisher has an idea as to why this is happening:

“Technology reduces our ability to express our emotions, and emotional expression is a huge part of communication, so we are reinventing ways to express ourselves”

What are you waiting for?! If this doesn’t convince you to use emojis, nothing will.

If anything, this could help spread the proliferation of emojis so we can all have more sex than ever. Maybe by that time, we’ll be able to switch between English and emoji keyboards on laptops. [Side-eye and prayer emojis]