Ashley Madison still ‘growing’ despite hack

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(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)

Johannesburg - Infidelity website Ashley Madison says “hundreds of thousands of new users” joined the service last week despite a hack attack.

On August 18, hackers dubbed the ‘Impact Team’ infiltrated Ashley Madison’s database and leaked details of over 30 million users of the cheating site.

The hack has wreaked havoc on personal lives while prominent politicians and celebrities in the UK and US have been exposed as using the service.

In turn, the company that owns Ashley Madison, Avid Life Media, is in turmoil as its chief executive officer Noel Biderman stepped down late last week.

Avid Life Media is also facing court hearings in the US and Canada over the hacking breach.

However, the company on Monday released a statement that said its user base is still growing, despite the negative attention on the company.

“Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing,” Avid Life Media said.

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

READ: Check if your spouse is on Ashley Madison

Fake users

Avid Life Media, in its statement on Monday, also tried to dispel reports that said the site has few female users.

A report by website Gizmodo last week said that few of Ashley Madison’s 5.5 million female users were real.

Gizmodo reported that there was little activity from the said 5.5 million female users while the site has an estimated 31 million male subscribers.

"The more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile," wrote Gizmodo editor Annalee Newitz.

But Avid Life Media has hit back at this report.

The company said that “some journalists have turned the focus of the criminal act against Ashley Madison inside out, attacking us instead of the hackers”.  

“Last week, a reporter who claimed to analyse the stolen data 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. That conclusion was wrong,” said Avid Life Media.

Avid Life Media went on to say that last week “women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform”.

Avid Life Media also said the ratio of men who paid to communicate with women versus the number of women who actively used their account was 1.2 to 1.

The company said that women are not required to pay to communicate with men on Ashley Madison.

READ: MAP - Ashley Madison users around the world

The statement also said that Ashley Madison has customers in “nearly every zip code in the United States, as well as users in more than 50 countries around the world”.

In South Africa, reports have indicated that there were around 49 0000 .za email addresses exposed by the Ashley Madison hack. 

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