Ashley Madison claims surge of new users in wake of security breach

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

87,596 women sign up at Ashley Madison since hack.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for infidelity website Ashley Madison in the last week, parent company Avid Life Media said on Monday, even after hackers leaked data about millions of its clients.Despite a massive hack that exposed the personal information of millions of users, the Ashley Madison dating site for married people is growing, the company says.There were lots of women looking to cheat on their partners on our site, honest, representatives of hacked infidelity service Ashley Madison claimed on Monday.

How is one supposed to imagine a future for it in the wake of a hack that led to the public shaming of many of the site’s members and the resignation of its parent company’s CEO? The company also struck back at reports that the site had few genuine female users, saying internal data released by hackers had been incorrectly analyzed. “Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated,” the company said in a statement. “Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing.” On Aug. 18, hackers who claimed to be unhappy with Avid Life’s business practices released Ashley Madison customer data. The latest – unattributed – statement from the Canadian company came after Annalee Newitz, a writer for several Gawker Media websites including Gizmodo, studied the hacked database for indications that the site’s purported 5.5 million female users had arranged trysts using the service. Reporting its death is a perfectly reasonable trap, one that I fell into when writing about the site last week, as I described what its users “had” done, operating on the implicit assumption that they wouldn’t be doing it anymore. She found that “only 1,492 women had ever checked their messages” according to the stolen information, though she allowed for the possibility that the data might have been corrupted.

Trustify advertises Ashley Madison reports at $199 for a “comprehensive review about what personal details had been made available” — all delivered to my in-box within 72 hours. However, emails from the second leak by hackers, calling themselves the Impact Team, also seem to indicate that Ashley Madison created many “angels”, to use the site’s terminology – fake accounts run by bot programs. For at least three years before the publication of details about its members, Avid Life had been struggling to sell itself or raise funds, according to internal documents and emails that hackers also released.

If those numbers turned you off, never fear: In its recent press release, Ashley Madison claims that 87,596 totally real women who are definitely real have signed up in the “past week alone.” In its specificity, this number is clearly meant to carry the weight of authority and truth. Given the amount of publicity the site has received, it’s entirely possible that some new users created accounts, whether out of curiosity, intent to troll, or even real desire.

Leaked information appeared to show Biderman used his work email to arrange paid assignations with young women despite having claimed total fidelity to his wife in an interview with the New York Daily News last year. Of course, if existing engagement ratios hold, only 26 of those definitely real women are ever going to take a gander at what other users write to them. The documentary did not happen, but that’s not to say the research went to waste: I also had the perfect excuse for being on Ashley Madison years later.

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