RTC04: Putting out fires

This is one of a multi-part series. For other instalments, see Romancing the code: Ashley’s Angels and internet demons.

Three press releases posted on the AM website on the 20th July initially acknowledge an intrusion in to the system and steps they were taking to address the issue. AM claim that,

Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the “paid-delete” option does in fact remove all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity. The process involves a hard-delete of a requesting user’s profile, including the removal of posted pictures and all messages sent to other system users’ email boxes. This option was developed due to specific member requests for just such a service, and designed based on their feedback. As our customers’ privacy is of the utmost concern to us, we are now offering our full-delete option free to any member, in light of today’s news.

Almost a month later, on 18th August, a longer statement is released stating that,

The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world. We are continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement to seek to hold the guilty parties accountable to the strictest measures of the law.

However, AM otherwise acknowledges that the authorities had not yet identified or prosecuted anyone, and the following day AM releases a very short statement claiming that no full credit card details were stolen.

On 23rd August, as more data is leaked, the Impact Team appear to make a small misstep that could offer some clues for police to follow up, and on 25th August, AM announces that the Toronto Police Service have launched Project Unicorn. AM themselves also offer a $500,000 (CDN) reward,

…to anyone who provides information to the Task Force that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the theft of proprietary data.

Three days later, on 28th August 2015, after the third leak containing his emails led to an increase in stories questioning his own marital fidelity, a statement confirmed that, “in the best interest of the company”, Noel Biderman had stepped down as CEO of Avid Life Media Inc.

Finally, on 31st August, AM released one more statement claiming that reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated, that new claims in the media about how many active female users actually existed on the Ashley Madison site were incorrect, and that,

This past week alone, hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for the Ashley Madison platform – including 87,596 women.

No news on whether these people had joined the site purely to search for unfaithful partners, however.


Read the next instalment – RTC05: Hitting a nerve.

2 thoughts on “RTC04: Putting out fires

  1. Pingback: Romancing the code: Ashley’s Angels and internet demons | Dr Claire Hardaker

  2. Pingback: RTC03: Missing pieces | Dr Claire Hardaker

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