Who would have thought that a new website, created to make life easier for cheating spouses would in fact end so wrong? For the purported 40 million clients of AshleyMadison.com, who were assured that their “flings” would be clandestine to the world, or at the very least their spouse, they have now learned this week that their top secret affairs were compromised by a team of righteous and virtuous hackers who stole their personal identifying information, including user names, e-mail addresses and credit card data. Since last week’s big dump of client data, there have been several suicides associated to the hack, conservative celebrities being outed, as well as countless spouses who clench their teeth as they search for their spouse’s e-mail addresses on the world wide web.
For many clients of AshleyMadison.com, finger pointing, shame, and divorce will be his or her worst punishment, but for military servicemembers the data breach fallout is much more impactful with far-reaching collateral consequences.
15,000 U.S. military e-mail addresses were discovered in the hacker’s most recent release of AshleyMadison.com’s client information. Couple that with the news that the Pentagon has set up a task force to investigate the matter and involved military servicemembers should expect a phone call from law enforcement and/or their command in the near future. This is due in large part to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) laws against adultery and inappropriate use of government computers. That said, any military servicemembers who are married and were using their work computers while viewing their next salacious target, may find themselves staring down a court-martial.
Beyond the possibility of a court-martial for violations of the UCMJ, servicemembers need to also consider that the military take “administrative action” against them, such as removing security clearances, derogatory personnel files and the involuntary separation from military service.