Re­tired army boss among the clients of cheat web­site

CityPress - - News - JO­HAN EY­BERS, SUZANNE VEN­TER, JACO NEL and ATHANDIWE SABA news@city­press.co.za

A South African am­bas­sador and a for­mer high­rank­ing army of­fi­cer are among scores of lo­cal adul­ter­ers who have been caught with their pants down.

The man is one of thou­sands of South Africans whose name ap­peared this week on the data­base of Ash­ley­Madi­son.com, a web­site that helps mar­ried peo­ple have af­fairs.

This week, hack­ers pub­lished the list – con­tain­ing per­sonal de­tails of mil­lions of the site’s users – on the dark web, a part of the in­ter­view that can­not be ac­cessed by search en­gines like Google.

City Press’ sis­ter news­pa­per Rap­port, with the help of lo­cal com­puter ex­perts, ob­tained the en­coded data­base of al­most 78 000 trans­ac­tions be­tween 2013 and this year. The list fea­tures the full names, email ad­dresses, home ad­dresses and bank­ing de­tails for the credit card pay­ments and the dates, times and amounts of money they spent on the site.

Men have to pay to ob­tain the con­tact de­tails of fe­male mem­bers.

A for­mer gen­eral, who has pre­vi­ously dis­ci­plined sol­diers for their sex­ual in­dis­cre­tions, spent R450 on the site in search of ac­tion in Jan­uary this year.

He has been quoted as say­ing that sol­diers are seen as am­bas­sadors of the coun­try and in­de­cent be­hav­iour casts the na­tion in a bad light.

But it’s not just for­mer gen­er­als who have been mak­ing use of the site – an ex­am­i­na­tion of the users’ email ad­dresses show that scores of doc­tors, vet­eri­nar­i­ans, lawyers, ad­vo­cates and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have been us­ing it.

These in­clude a well-known pae­di­a­tri­cian, who since 2013 has spent R5 000 on the ser­vice and is one of 73 South African medics look­ing for a bit of ac­tion out­side their mar­riage.

There are also 770 South Africans con­nected to lo­cal univer­si­ties on the data­base.

There were 57 aca­demics from Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity fol­lowed by 41 em­ployed by the Nel­son Man­dela Metropoli­tan Univer­sity in Port El­iz­a­beth.

Of the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, there are 140 users who used Eskom email ad­dresses, 51 at Telkom, 18 from cor­rec­tional ser­vices, and 15 from the po­lice.

City Press con­tacted 100 of those with gov­ern­ment email ad­dresses to ask how they felt about be­ing outed.

Many of the emails bounced, but some re­sponded, ve­he­mently deny­ing they had ever heard of Ash­ley Madi­son.

An of­fi­cial work­ing for the depart­ment of public works in KwaZulu-Natal said she did not even know what Ash­ley Madi­son did.

“I guess there would be reper­cus­sions for those who use the ser­vice [dur­ing work hours] – not me, ob­vi­ously.

“As to whether it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to use a work email is up to the in­di­vid­ual. If one can use work cell­phones to call friends, I guess work emails can be used for pri­vate things.

“I used to re­ceive emails from Ash­ley Madi­son and I marked them as spam a few years back, but I didn’t bother to check why I’m re­ceiv­ing the emails,” she said.

Another of­fi­cial from the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity de­manded to know where the leaked list had come from.

“There is no way my name can be on that list. Pro­to­col at work does not al­low us to go on such web­sites.

“This in­for­ma­tion needs to be ver­i­fied and you can do that with our IT depart­ment,” said the of­fi­cial.

Another of­fi­cial from the depart­ment of public en­ter­prises said she had only looked at the site once and had “never been a user”.

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