August 21, 2015 - 5:18 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Locals in the B.C. Southern Interior aren’t immune to exposure from the dump of information hackers released on the notorious marriage-cheating site Ashleymadison.com.
A search through account emails from the data suggests lots of people here were using the site.
But before this gets into new realms of gossip and rumour: We aren’t releasing names. We can tell you, however, some of the users' email addresses include local government and in local school districts.
Sometime in July, a hacker group called the Impact Team managed to access all user accounts on Ashley Madison and released them this week for the public to find.
The hacktivists said they targeted Ashley Madison and Canadian parent company Avid Life Media citing “fraud, deceit and stupidity of… members."
Ashley Madison carries the tag line: Life is short. Have an affair. Its service is to hook up married people for “discreet encounters between married individuals.”
The Impact Team and former staffers claim the site was made up of 90 to 95 per cent men and staff made fake accounts to bolster the number of women. But before you go downloading the huge amount of data to begin your hunt for a cheating partner, the information comes with a serious disclaimer from the hackers themselves.
"Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles,” they wrote within the dump itself. "Chances are your man signed up on the world's biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.”
Some people, like family values activist and 19 Kids and Counting reality TV star Josh Duggar, have already been outed.
We searched email addresses in the data looking for local signifiers. Among a sea of nearly 40 million accounts, most are some variation of email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, but plenty of people still don’t know how to create and use an anonymous email account.
It helps that Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton are unique words. It’s very unlikely that all 1,919 instances of the word Vernon in the database apply to Vernon, B.C. We didn’t find any emails from the City of Vernon.
The word Kelowna appears in 262 email addresses, though none matched the City of Kelowna’s email convention of @kelowna.ca. There is one account, however, connected to @districtofwestkelowna.ca.
It’s a bit of different story in Kamloops. The word appears in 87 email strings including one from the City of Kamloops' @kamloops.ca email address.
The word Penticton appears 23 times in Ashley Madison accounts, including two separate addresses with an older email convention for the City of Penticton of penticton.bc.ca. The city has revised its email string to just Penticton.ca
All Thompson-Okanagan school districts came back clean except for one: School District 23 in Kelowna. The email string @sd23.bc.ca appears seven times.
At Thompson Rivers University, 13 accounts appear to be linked to staff email accounts. UBC Okanagan can't be distinguished among the 81 email addresses that use ubc.ca.
The broad email suffix for Interior Health — interiorhealth.ca — comes up twice.
More than 500 accounts have bc.ca however not all those are government employees. Most of them are bankers using CIBC.ca or RBC.ca or HSBC.ca. Only 16 provincial government emails appear in the data using @gov.bc.ca.
Another 18 emails have the distinctive rcmp-grc address but they could be from anywhere.
If you really must know names behind the accounts, one more warning. Finding the data is simple enough, but downloading it and sorting it will probably require a higher level of computer expertise. And keep in mind these are emails associated with the accounts and may not mean the people behind those accounts are cheating — or seeking to cheat on their spouse — just that someone used those email addresses on the site.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015