This week after a hacking group named “Impact Team” leaked information about millions of users of the infidelity dating website Ashley Madison, we reached out to victims of the hack to hear how it was impacting their lives.
So far we've talked to dozens of victims, some who have said the hack will completely ruin their lives, others who seemed rather unruffled about the whole ordeal. Here are snapshots of the users we talked to and what they said about the leak:
- A man in Kentucky, who said he’d used Ashley Madison for over two years and had several affairs through it. He hopes his wife of more than 20 years won’t find out since he used an e-mail address she doesn’t know about to sign up. He deleted his account.
- A man in Michigan who denied ever using the site.
- A woman in Georgia who denied ever using the site
- A married man in New Jersey who said he started using the site several years ago, after he started to feel like he’d missed out on a lot in life by getting married at 19. He’s had several affairs via Ashley Madison and fell hard for one woman he met there. He’s still on the site and still with his wife.
- A man in Texas who said he’d tried the site once and signed up with a gift card, so wasn’t worried about any consequences.
- A single Florida man who said he signed up after a night of drinking because he was looking for something “discreet and simple.” He deleted his account because it seemed like a waste of time. He worries signing up may impact future relationships, but said he can always deny starting an account.
- A married Texas man who said he signed up, then read about the leak and immediately deleted his account.
- A single New York man who said he was looking for a no-strings attached relationship but never actually met anyone through Ashley Madison. He said the site was a waste of time, but doesn’t care whether anyone finds out he joined.
- A married man who said that while he’d joined the site and screwed up, it was a long time ago. He was very concerned that the leak would out him for something that he’d thought was behind him. He said it would ruin his life. He used a gift card to sign up.
- A divorced Connecticut man who said he briefly joined the site and then cancelled his account because he was “disgusted” by what he saw. Since he was already divorced when he signed up, he was mainly concerned about identity theft, rather than anyone finding out he was a member.
- A married man in Minnesota who said he joined Ashley Madison after his wife had an affair. He chatted with some people on the site, but never met anyone in person. He said he and his wife have now worked through their problems, but he worries the leak might bring old issues back up.
- A California man who said he wasn’t worried about the leak. In his experience on the site, many of the profiles seemed to be fake.
- A man in Miami who denied using the site.
- A Missouri man who said he had separated from his wife and was looking for someone who was similarly situated. He said he was disappointed with the site, but unconcerned about the implications of the breach for his personal life.
- An Ohio man who denied signing up for the site.
- A single Texas man who said the leak would not impact him because he is not in a relationship and had cancelled the card he used to sign up for the site.
- A single Nevada man who said the breach would not impact him because he is not in a relationship.
- A coupled New York man who said he signed up with his girlfriend to look for a woman for them to have a threesome with. He said the site was a huge waste of money because nobody ever responded to their messages and most of the female accounts seemed like fakes.
- A Texas man who said he signed up for Ashley Madison while living with his wife but going through a divorce. She didn’t know he used the site and he suspects she would be upset if she finds out. Their divorce still isn’t finalized and he’s concerned she may try and use this as evidence against him in court.
- A married Alabama man who said he signed up for the site out of curiosity one month before the leak. He never met anyone on it and no one showed interest in him and now he said he’s horrified that the leak may wind up hurting people around him.
- A man who said he was in a relationship and signed up out of curiosity without ever intending to use it. If his girlfriend finds out, he said he thinks she would be okay with it since he didn’t intend to use it.
- A man in Wyoming who said his only concern was being contacted by a reporter.
- A coupled Indiana man who said he used the site to message with several female members but never actually met someone in real life. He said it was probably a good thing he never did. He deleted his account after the breach.
- A Pennsylvania woman who said that her “personal circumstances” meant there were no immediate consequences from using the site, but said she was concerned about what other people might think of her.
If you're a victim of the hack and you'd like to share your story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will update this story with new snapshots as they come in.