Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman has resigned after hackers released information that the head of the adultery-based dating website had an affair himself, despite previous denials.
A hacking group going by the handle of ‘The Impact Team’ initially accessed records about the 37 million Ashley Madison users in July and threatened to publish information on what it called “a prostitution/human trafficking website for rich men to pay for sex”.
The group went through with their threat this month, dumping 9.7GB of user data including names, addresses, phone numbers and payment card details on an untraceable “dark web” site. The move has led to public embarrassment, ended marriages and, reportedly, even suicides.
Avid Life Media Inc (ALM), the parent company of Ashley Madison, made a statement on its website which said Noel Biderman is stepping down as chief executive officer “in mutual agreement with the company”.
“This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base,” the statement added.
The company is now on the lookout for a new CEO, but in the meantime will be “led by the existing senior management team” who will continue to investigate the Ashley Madison hack.
“We are actively cooperating with international law enforcement in an effort to bring those responsible for the theft of proprietary member and business information to justice,” the statement said.
ALM also states its intention to continue operating Ashley Madison, although how the website could continue to be successful after such a devastating data breach and subsequent reputational blow remains to be seen.
“We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members’ privacy by criminals. We will continue to provide access to our unique platforms for our worldwide members,” the company said.
If Ashley Madison thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they were wrong. Emails recovered by The Impact Team implicate the company in the hacking of the user database of a rival website by the company’s own chief technology officer.