Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ashley Madison Users Mapped

Malfideleco (Esperanto for infidelity) is a global map showing the number of Ashley Madison users around the world. Ashley Madison is a dating website which is marketed towards people who are married or in a committed relationship and who are looking to have an 'affair'. The site has been in the news over the last couple of months because hackers have managed to steal all of the customer data.

The Malfideleco map shows the distribution of Ashley Madison users around the world. The user distribution layer partly resembles a population density map for the countries with a high number of Ashley Madison members. This is because the map just places a marker on every large urban area with a number of members. However you can click on a location's marker to view the number of Ashley Madison members living in that town or city. The layer also provides a neat overview of the countries where the Ashley Madison website has been popular.

What is more interesting to me is the male to female ratio layer. This layer colors the markers on the map red or yellow to show locations with more than 85% male members (red) and areas with less than 85% male members (yellow). India stands out on the map as the country with the highest percentage of female users. In contrast European countries all seem to have an overwhelmingly higher proportion of male users.

Flashpoint, the web security specialists, have released a static map which they say visualizes a heat map of  "individuals accessing a data dump allegedly stolen from".

I've no idea who these 'individuals' are. They could be hackers looking to exploit the data, Ashley Madison users trying to find out whether their names are on the list or suspicious spouses checking to see if their partner's names appear on the hacked data.

There does seem to be some correlation between the two maps, which might indicate where worried users are checking the hacked data for their own names.

Interworks has created a United States map of Ashley Madison Users by ZIP Code. A lot of people have been pointing out that the Malfideleco map looks like a population density map. The Interworks map overcomes this problem by ranking each zip-code area by per capita use, showing the percentage of users of the total population in each zip code area.

Interworks have noticed a pattern on the East Coast and in Chicago where there seems to be a very high percentage of Ashley Madison users in urban commercial centers. They believe this is due to Ashley Madison users in these areas using their offices and not their homes as their billing address.

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