Ashley Madison: sex, lies, scandals, scams, and cyber – review

My partner is cheating on me, and I found out from a data leak picked up by reporters and broadcast to the whole world.

What will my life look like now, how do I forgive him, and should we repair the relationship or abandon it entirely?

This didn’t actually happen to me, but it happened to thousands of people when Ashley Madison, the adulturous dating site was hacked in 2015.

In the show perspective is everything. That’s the thought that crossed my mind while watching the docuseries.

The perspective shift, the complicated relationships, the lies, the scandals, and the drama are all reasons why I found the series so compelling.

Something so deplorable, dastardly, and demeaning as a show about having affairs shouldn’t be relatable.

But it is, and you sit there thinking, what did I just watch?

The corrupt and greedy nature of those involved in Ashely Madison, the broken relationships, and the suicides really encapsulate the dangers of adultery and the devastation left after a cyberattack.

This is one of the first instances where a cyberattack has been brought into the mainstream, and the cyber attack on Ashley Madison demonstrates just how dangerous hackers with a vendetta can be.

The beginning of Ashley Madison

For those who don’t know, Ashley Madison is a website (and now an app) that functions as a dating site for those looking to have an affair. Their infamous tagline is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

The company dates back to 2001 and is based in Canada. It grew to new heights when, in 2015, Ashley Madison suffered a cyberattack orchestrated by an unknown cyber gang called ‘The Impact Team.’

Sex and cyberattacks

The personal information of all those who had signed up to the “dating website” was then exposed for the world to see, and media outlets were quick to report the incident.

The information stolen by The Impact Team and leaked to the entire internet included:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Addresses
  • Sexual fantasies
  • Credit card information

The amount of users on Ashley Madison at the time of the cyberattack were approximately 32 million.

The company was making millions of dollars at its height, yet no ransom was demanded, and cybersecurity experts were stumped as to the nature of this attack.

Publicity, a jealous ex-lover, a disgruntled employee? No one knew who facilitated the attack on Ashley Madison.

This story is dredged in deceit and features quirky characters trying to get rich or solve the mystery of Ashley Madison.

Real-life stories

We are confronted with those who felt the full blow of this data breach. The viewer meets two sweet and unassuming Christian family vloggers who seemingly have it all figured out. However, the husband is harboring a dirty little secret.

Yet another victim of the Ashley Madison data leak is Christi, whose husband’s association with Ashley Madison created a ripple effect, leaving scars that may never be healed.

Even success stories of love and romance have blossomed from the soil of the adulterous dating site.

The dichotomous relationship between the greedy techno-capitalists running Ashley Madison and the resentful spouses or adulterers is unsettling yet brilliant.

Even the company’s CEO isn’t exempt from having his private fantasies leaked to the public. That makes for an extremely juicy storyline.

The dynamics within the series are quite complex, contradictory, and downright hypocritical at times. Which makes for great television.