Month: January 2017

Attention Lawyers: See How The Ashley Madison Hack Can Help You

One of the most spectacular incidents involving cyber security and data breaches has been unfolding since mid-2015. The network intrusion and blackmail of Avid Life Media, the Canadian internet company that owns and operates the infamous Ashley Madison dating website, clearly illustrates the dangers of data theft and the new dimensions of cybercrime in the 21st century.
The Ashley Madison data breach should be of special interest to family lawyers for various reasons, one of them being that it presents a good opportunity for online law firm marketing. The bottom line for family law practitioners is that the Ashley Madison data breach has resulted in numerous divorce proceedings and custody cases filed by clients whose decisions to retain counsel were based on internet searches about the case.

Ashley Madison and the Law

Ever since the initial reports of the Ashley Madison hack came to light in 2015, online news coverage of the incident hasn’t stopped. Attorneys from the United States and Canada have appeared on television news broadcasts as subject matter experts explaining the legal ramifications of this case, and the topics of divorce, child custody, and alimony have been widely discussed.

In February 2016, the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program published an interesting blog post detailing the legal aftermath of the Ashley Madison scandal, which specifically mentioned three major stages:

1 – Class action lawsuits against Avid Life Media, which was surprisingly founded by an attorney who work represented professional athletes. The basis of these lawsuits include breach of privacy claims.

2 – Would-be extortionists searched the publicly available data of exposed cheaters and demanded cash to prevent the widespread publication and online shaming. Some of these blackmail attempts resulted in law enforcement investigations, and thus some criminal defense attorneys were busy.

3 – Family law firms started to receive lots of inquiries about divorce filings just two weeks after the incident was reported. One attorney in Virginia explained that he was interviewing up to 10 prospective clients a day.

Ashley Madison Searches

At the peak of the Ashley Madison scandal, search engine giant Google reported up to a million queries per day. Although the search volume has decreased since then, the case was still making the news just before Christmas 2016, when the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement agreement with Avid Life Media for $1.6 million.

Many of the searches related to Ashley Madison are from people who either know or suspect that their spouses were part of the leaked database; these are people who would like to weigh their options with regard to dissolution of marriage.

Family law professionals who stand to gain the most from the Ashley Madison fiasco are those who feature content related to it. This could be in the form of blog posts following the case or a section that explains what people should do if their loved ones are on the database, or if their own information has been compromised.

As can be expected, the most effective content should be informative and technical; for example, what would be the best course of action if a prenuptial agreement was in place, what if there is no clear evidence of cheating, how realistic is the prospect of alimony, and other similar topics.

Read More: Protecting Your Online Identity 

Protecting Your Online Identity

While the Internet has been an amazing addition to modern life, there are problems that come along with it. One of the biggest threats that you face when you are online is having your identity stolen. If that happens, thieves can use your identity to run up big charges in your name and ruin your credit. To prevent this, you must take steps to protect your identity. Follow this guide to protecting your identity online.

1. Beef Up Your data-1590455_640Passwords

One of the most essential things you need to do is to use strong passwords for all of your online accounts. You should not use the same password for each site. Instead, you should have a different secure password for each of your online accounts. Make sure you use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You should use both lower and uppercase letters. Do not use common words, your birthday or other easy-to-guess elements in your password.

2. Use Two-Step Authentication

You should take advantage of two-step authentication on any site that offers it like Facebook and Google. Two-step authentication requires you to use a separate pin number that is sent to your cell phone whenever you want to log in. It may seem like a royal pain when you are logged out, but two-step authentication makes your online accounts as secure as possible.

3. Set Up Login Notifications

Another feature you should always take advantage of when it is offered is login notification. When you have the login notification option selected on a site like Facebook, you will be notified via text message and email anytime that your account is logged into from a new IP address. This ensures that you will instantly know if any hacker gains access to your account. When you receive a login notification, it allows you to quickly change your password before the hackers can dive too deeply into the identifying information that is available on the site.

4. Do Not Store Your Credit Card Information Online

It may seem tempting to store your credit card information on retail sites like Amazon to make online shopping convenient, but it is a bad idea. If you have your credit card information stored online and a thief gains access to your account, the thief can quickly rack up thousands of dollars of charges after gaining access to your credit card information. Although it may seem like a hassle to input your credit card info each time you make a purchase, it is a lot less of a hassle than trying to clean up the mess after an identity thief steals your credit card number.

 

This is another feature offered by many websites that seems convenient but is a recipe for disaster. If you have several accounts linked together, a thief only has to hack into one account to do a lot of damage. By accessing one account that is linked to several others, a thief can quickly gain access to loads of your personal information.

The last thing you want to face is identity theft. It can take years to clean up the damage after a thief steals your identity. Identity thieves can ruin your credit, prevent you from accessing your online accounts and empty your bank accounts. Make sure that you follow these tips to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of online identity theft.