Where Are They Now: Ashley Madison, The Site for Cheaters, One Year Later

gizmodo.com

One year later, the site for cheaters is working to put a cork in last year's nasty leak

1. The Website For Those With Questionable Motives Is Now Rebranding

The Short of It:

A year after the great Ashley Madison hack of 2015, the company that facilitated cheaters in their pursuit of affairs, has been working to rebrand its company.

The Longer Version of It:

If you think back to where you were sitting this time last year, you might remember being at your desk and scouring troves of sites in search for evidence that your boss really was the jerk you suspected he was. After hackers exposed the profiles of 37 million people whose names and information were linked to the controversial cheating website, Ashley Madison, lots of people did. Now the Federal Trade Commission wants to take a peak too.

The intimate secrets of people seeking extramarital affairs spilled out into the webverse, after a group of hackers called "The Impact Team" stole user data from the commercial website. The long list of people engaged in extramarital affairs wasn't the only thing that people were interested to discover. It was also revealed that the site used computer programs that impersonated female users, "fembots" if you will, in order to inflate the number of women on the site and compel paying members to invest in conversations with accounts that were fake. Awkward, because that's basically "Catfish" but an actual billion dollar corporation is calling the shots.

Since the breach, Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life Media, has taken on two new executives and faced several investigations as well as lawsuits by plaintiffs in the U.S. and Canada. According to Time, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the company by two Canadian law firms for nearly $600 million in August and a woman in Missouri, seeking to have private information removed from the site, is seeking $5 million in a lawsuit.

Now, the site is remapping its course and broadening its focus to the singletons. It's previous slogan "Life is short, have an affair," has undergone a facelift. The site now features a motto: "Single, attached, looking to explore, or just curious to discover what's out there — Ashley Madison is the most open-minded dating community in the world."

What's more, the site is facing investigation into it's fake profile practices by the FTC. For now, what the FTC's probe entails is unsure, but Avid's CEO Rob Segal did admit that the fembots were part of the investigation. In 2014, JDI Dating, a British dating website settled with the FTC for $616,165 after similar fake profiles were found on its site.

The Takeaway:

So maybe you did find your boss on one of those hacker sites, the reality is that anyone who has ever logged into an internet account (Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, email, online banking) should recognize that they're also vulnerable to internet pirates. Despite your position on the controversy of the site, we all have a right to be ensured that our information is safe from these cyberattacks, the repercussions of the site's hack should open everyone's eyes to the information they share.