I’ve been hearing about the Ashley Madison hack for quite a while now. I have heard some thoughts about the whole thing on podcasts and from others. There are differing thoughts and opinions on the hack but I don’t think many have yet realized how big of a deal this is going to become. So here are my thoughts on the Ashley Madison hack.
My thought on this is not about whether it was deserved or not because the people were cheaters. I have been looking at it more from the position of the parent company and CEO’s actions. I personally think their actions were stupid. They knew there was a breach and that data was taken. They were told by the hacking team to shut down the sites or the data would be released. They didn’t shut the sites down and that is what I can’t understand. This is not a demand from terrorists to a nation or government. It could be sort of compared to the threats against Sony for the release of “The Interview”. Sony didn’t release the movie and in this case if I had been CEO I would have moved to shut the sites down. Looking at the situation from the role of a CEO the release of the data is more damaging to the company than losses from shutting down the sites. Who in their right mind would use the sites now? So they are losing both money and customers. Customers who no longer feel like their information is secure. Now considering the lawsuits that have probably already begun and the new ones that are sure to come up. It’s another area where they are losing money. So what was the benefit of keeping the sites running?
As CEO your job is to do what’s best for the company. Where I’m standing that would have been to shut the sites down. I just don’t understand what it was that made the CEO and parent company go against this rationale. I think it was a stupid and wreckless decision on their part. Especially knowing the kind of damage that would result from the release. Looking forward this is going to be quite a lesson to all the companies out there. At least I hope it will be especially the ones with users’ sensitive data. I think everyone still remembers the hacking of Sony’s Playstation network. Something that happened not once but twice! Companies need to take this as a lesson and upgrade their systems to eliminate as many avenues for exploits as possible. Only time will tell but the fallout from this will inevitably show companies how vulnerable they are. That hackers are there and ready to exploit those vulnerabilities which results in the loss of money.