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Is jumping to conclusions about Ashley Madison hack a bad idea?

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If you pay attention to the news like we do, then you've probably heard about a number of computer hacks that have taken place over the last year. From hacks on company servers to websites, computer hacking can be devastating because it can negatively impact lives. This was perhaps best exemplified recently after the hack on the website called Ashley Madison.

Some of our Gaithersburg readers may have heard about the hack, which resulted in the release of hundreds of thousands of names and email addresses of people who used the site. For many, this was a concerning enough fact because it could lead to issues such as identity theft. But what made this hack so devastating was the fact that Ashley Madison is a dating website specifically for married people looking to cheat on their spouses.

As you can imagine, the release of users' names and email addresses meant the exposure of hundreds of thousands of potential affairs, resulting in accusations of adultery and demands for divorce. As was pointed out in a CNN Money article, some accusations were confirmed after the hack. But as an NPR article shows, not everyone who was named after the hack was guilty of cheating on their spouse.

Take for example the case of a man whose email address was used by someone else without his permission to create a user profile on the Ashley Madison site. After the leak, a search of his email address suggested that he had been a user on the site and may be an adulterer. But after doing some digging, he and his wife say they found the real person behind the profile.

Because the Ashley Madison site does not verify user email addresses, it's not hard to believe that a situation such as this could occur. It's for this reason that our Maryland readers may want to avoid jumping to conclusions about the email addresses leaked by the hacker. That's because adultery is grounds for divorce in Maryland, meaning lives could be ruined because of someone else's adulterous actions.

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