The adultery-centered dating site Ashley-Madison has been breached and 37 million customers are in danger of being exposed. That’s a lot of cheaters. In other news, flower and jewelry shops are accepting pre-orders expecting a potential customer increase. Paid marriage counselors and divorce lawyers are cancelling their planned vacations as well. Seriously, the breach is very bad news for Ashley-Madison and its customers. It’s not uncommon for hackers to attack various websites to promote a principle or a good cause. In this case, preventing the increase of adultery. The group which calls itself the Impact Team is threatening to expose the Ashley-Madison’s 37 million customers for the low, low price of stopping their operations.
The problem with Ashley-Madison was that it acted like a garden-variety blog with paid membership. The site was somewhat generic with its membership procedures and payments. Of course making the site as easy to use as Facebook is very important. Unfortunately, the site didn’t take privacy and security very seriously despite its very private theme. Their database is not well encrypted, if it was at all. The payment system was through easily traceable credit cards and not bitcoins. But not everyone is well versed at bitcoins nor are aware of its existence.
It’s hard to blame the site for cutting corners with regards to privacy and security in order to make the website as easy to use, to make an already widespread activity much easier and to make loads of money for this new idea that someone might copy next week. The security and privacy didn’t seem much to begin with. Resourceful partners could check if their partners were cheating just by taking advantage of the site’s password reset feature. A failed attempt at resetting will actually expose an entered email address as belonging to a member. Ashley-Madison should also have kept an encrypted database readable only by whatever in-house system they had. The hackers apparently have real names and addresses in their possession and possibly credit card numbers. The credit cards can easily be cancelled or secured but what’s really damaging are the names of their owners.
The Impact Team can simply put up a site with a searchable page where husbands and wives can search through to check if their partners were cheating on them. Those found positive could face severe repercussions to their personal and family relationships. To say that Ashley-Madison is in deep trouble is an understatement. If they can’t negotiate their way out with the Impact Team, they will have to shut down or face lawsuits from its members for their lack of security.
The only thing the site can be complimented for with regards to privacy was its “paid delete” policy where members would have to pony up to have their data deleted completely. But even that “deleted” data may also be compromised.
So what’s the moral of this story? If you’re going to cheat, find a more secure site, or don’t do it over the internet. Better yet, don’t do it at all. Stick to porn.
Paid Apps Become Free, Including the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This is a follow-up to my recent free apps article. In the world of apps the paid ones are often better. More features, better tested and has customer support. The problem with paid apps, especially legacy apps in the Windows ecosystem, is that they’re often expensive. With iOS and Android, apps can be priced very low because a well-made app worth 1 dollar can make it up with thousands of downloads and they’re cheap enough that users won’t mind downloading and scrapping them in case they turn out to be junk. The iOS and Android market is a free-for-all. With Windows, the market can be fierce with small companies going against already big names. Even small markets such as utilities are filled with paid and free competitors. But that’s life.
Though there are many free Windows apps out there, they might not make the cut. Plus, they could be dangerous. One Google search and those big download links and huge blinking download buttons could get you in a very bad way. But there’s a way to get paid software for free. No, they’re not in Davey-Jones locker but a real legitimate way.
This author stumbled upon Give Away of the Day years ago. This site gives away a paid piece of software every day for 24 hours. It’s a way for small software companies to promote their apps by making them available for free on the site. The grapevine and social media will do the rest and could be beneficial for the software company if the software goes in demand after the 24-hour promotion.
It promotes various types of software, mostly useful tools but sometimes very obscure niche programs at the level of computer science homework. These programs include PDF editors, multimedia converters, text editors, image viewers, interface enhancers, disk utilities and a whole lot more. The site also promotes paid games, often for casual gamers.
You can’t go to the site looking for specific software unfortunately. You’ll just have to wait until a good one comes along or find something you might want to use some day. Also, like the title says, the good the bad and the ugly. Some are real gems. Many are okay and some are just open to judgment.
To download an app, simply visit the site and check out the current offering. There’s a large button saying Proceed to Download. Simply click it to see the full details of the app. Click the “download it now” link. The other one will install a tool called Software Informer which will inform you of the site’s daily offerings and then some. After clicking the download link, the app will download as a zip file. Open the zip file and follow the instructions on the accompanying text file which also includes the app’s registration key. Install the app on the same day of the offering or it won’t register successfully. You’ll have to exercise some caution though as some bad apps manage to slip through and could register as malware. There’s a small community of users with comments on the software’s usefulness or whether the software is a threat. Happy downloading.