I haven’t given much thought to the Ashley Madison hacking spectacle. It affects me very little, or not at all, (not because I’m some great saint) as I detailed in a post several days ago.
The lurid nature of the hack and its effects has entertained in a scarily vicarious/train-wreck manner, similar to the rush I might experience as I watch Donald Trump kicking a Mexican reporter out of his press conference. But ultimately, the hack and release of tons of personal data disinterests me; the voyeuristic allure can only hold my attention for so long.
Still, something about the ostensible “hack” has always struck me as…how shall I describe my intuition?
The data dump strikes me as being composed of many tangents that don’t quite measure up to the sparseness of a genuine hack attack, especially against a site such as Ashley Madison which presents such a one-dimensional target of antagonism and attack, and that we’re told by the “hackers” (Impact Team), is owing to the fact that the site’s opt out feature is fallacious.
And many of the items that were released weren’t very congruent with the juicy credit card and identity details of members (dry company business matters, etc) that made it seem as if Ashley Madison engaged in careless cyber practices not befitting a 21st Century website, such as compiling all company data in a central repository in which all matters of company interest shared contiguous neighborhoods of some dormant central server.
Something didn’t seem right, but I just didn’t care enough. Until I read this article by security pimp, John McAfee.
He doubts the Ashley Madison data breach was in fact the work of hackers.
Rather, he suspects it was an inside job and merely the handiwork of good old-fashioned, boring misappropriation by a female employee.
An inside job.
Today, I can confidently claim that the single person is a woman, and has recently worked within Avid Life Media. I have provided IBTimes UK background information and pertinent elements of the woman’s data dump to prove both my access to the data and also to confirm elements of my research, under the strict conditions that it is to be referenced and then destroyed. The data I provided included such delicate material as the decoded password hash tables of every Avid Life and Ashley Madison employee, which I have also now destroyed.
From the data that was released, it was clear that the perpetrator had intimate knowledge of the technology stack of the company (all the programs being used). For example, the data contains actual MySQL database dumps. This is not just someone copying a table and making into a .csv file. Hackers rarely have full knowledge of the technology stack of a target.
Curious. I’d like to hear what further proof and identity information he has on this wayward employee?
It bears out a lot of my suspicions about this “hack” I’ve had from the moment the news broke:
Large companies are heavily departmentalised, in spite of having centralised databases. When a hacker gains access to any corporate data, the value of that data depends on which server, or sometimes a single person’s computer, that the hacker gains access to.
Hackers don’t have all the time in the world, so they pick and choose wisely.
These are just a few of the many strangely included files that would take even a top notch hacker years to gather, and seem to have little or no value. Any reasonable cybersecurity expert would come to the conclusion that only someone on the inside, who could easily gain all of the files through deception and guile, could have done the job.
It all falls into place. Hacking is the new upstart but it can’t compete with a disgruntled insider, the person who is physically adjacent to the company backbone and can wreak Real Life havoc.
I’ve heard several women shriek in glee over the rapid unfolding Ashley Madison saga. It’s as if they are cumming in unison over this sense of retribution against all the disappointment they have experienced at the hands of the Big Bad Man. Women, especially those 50 and under, are deifying this so-called hack as a grand collective payback against man’s evil nature.
But ultimately, it might have just been some vindictive broad with brick and mortar keys.
Life is sometimes too mundane for words.