Ashley Madison: 87, 596 Women Signed Up Last Week

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ashley Madison Refutes Claims That Its Site Was Populated With Fake Female Accounts.

This morning, Ashley Madison’s parent company Avid Life Media released a statement indicating it plans to keep operating as if nothing is wrong, despite being embroiled in a giant scandal over losing loads of user data to hackers. Britain’s spies have been looking through leaked files from the Ashley Madison adultery website – to see if they have anything to worry about but also whether they can use it to obtain intelligence. That’s hard to believe, given that the leaked emails resulting from the massive data breach also revealed the company paid people to create fake profiles (dubbed “angels”) on an ongoing basis, and had even wanted to find a way to automate this activity. Details of more than 33 million users of the website – including about 1.3 million people from the UK — were stolen in July, although many of the entries have since turned out to be fake. According to database research from Gizmodo in August, of Ashley Madison’s roughly 37 million users, only 5.5 million were marked “female.” But of that subsection, only a small percentage appeared to be active on the site – checking their messages, or using the site’s chat system, for example.

Two people have reportedly taken their own lives as a result of the hack and police have seen an increase in attempts by criminals to blackmail people on the list. The statement continues: “We have customers in nearly every zip code in the United States, as well as users in more than 50 countries around the world.” (This fact was reported in a story by Gawker.com last week.) The company also cites figures which indicate it ran a very healthy business: Yes, as we know, many men subscribed to the service for long periods of time in hopes of finding a partner for infidelity. Gizmodo also uncovered other odd findings, like the fact that many women’s IP address belonged to the same company that hosted Ashley Madison backups, which could indicate their accounts were created at Ashley Madison itself.

And, according to the source, the security services around the world would be doing much the same – only with the aim of obtaining intelligence, rather than money. An analysis of the data by the editor-in-chief of technology website Gizmodo, Annalee Newitz, found that an estimated three out of every 10,000 Ashley Madison members were actually real women. The company says that the reporter “made incorrect assumptions about the meaning of fields contained in the leaked data.” “This reporter concluded that the number of active female members on Ashley Madison could be calculated based on those assumptions. Women last week sent over 2.8 million messages, the statement continues, noting also that “recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated.” If you tend to believe that any press is good press, then there’s the possibility that Ashley Madison saw a rise in user numbers as people heard time about the dating site, whose tagline is “Life is short. But Ashley Madison has lost the trust of its users and the wider online community, following the large-scale data breach, which exposed the personal details of some 37 million members.

It seems that the company may not have been scrubbing the details from those who paid for the “full delete” option, and it certainly was engaged in populating the site with fake accounts, its internal emails revealed. As icing on the cake, ALM’s CEO, who claimed to have never himself cheated, was discovered to have multiple, ongoing affairs in these emails. (He stepped down last week.) In other words, ALM can make all the statements it wants, but the damage has been done to its reputation.

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