Ashley Madison Users Were Chatting With Bots – Not Women

Avid Life Media (ALM), the parent company of hacked adultery website Ashley Madison, is facing a US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probe over its use of automated software called ‘fembots’ on its websites, which impersonated real women to lure in male customers. Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault commented below.

Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault:

Javvad Malik“Bots have been evolving over the last few years with some interesting use-cases emerging.

For example, a bot lawyer at DoNotPay was created by student Joshua Browder and helps users contest parking tickets.

However, the challenge with bots getting better is the role they can play by fooling users into believing they’re interacting with a real person. The nefarious uses for such bots is extensive, and presents challenges from a technical as well as a human element. Bots can be used to drive up traffic, launch DDoS attacks, or harvest personal data from social media.

It means another layer of security for website owners to consider – and another layer of awareness for users.

Looking forward – the question is how long before we see transactions carried out solely between bots? It draws parallels to internet of things, where ‘things’ are speaking to other things. For example, a printer knows what cartridges it has and when levels are low – so it can order replacements without a human needed. Bots could add to this dimension by introducing an element of negotiation or bargaining that ‘things’ do not currently do.”

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