Hackers leave Ashley Madison users fearful
Major confusion ensued after extramarital dating site Ashley Madison was allegedly hacked by a group called "Impact Team" on 20 July.
While the company admitted that the hack was successful, its customer-service representatives continue to deny it, saying that their clients' personal information was safe.
However, the hackers have announced that they have access to the total database, including payment information of the customers.
14 Feb 2002: Affair, guaranteed
Ashley Madison was launched on Valentine's Day 2002, with the tagline "Life is short. Have an affair."
Based in Canada, it caters to a clientele across the States and Canada and has recently expanded across 46 countries.
It provides a paid dating service for people in unhappy relationships or marriages looking to stray.
With an Affair Guarantee, it currently boasts over 33 million members.
Fact: Cheating is good business
Noel Biderman founded Ashley Madison in 2002 with his wife Amanda. He is also the president of Avid Life Media which owns three hookup sites - Ashley Madison, which is worth billions, Established Men and Cougar Life.
22 Jul 2015: Hackers leave Ashley Madison users fearful
Why? : Hackers who act as vigilante
The hackers involved in this attack on Ashley Madison seem to have a very strong idea of right and wrong.
With the personal information of 2500 users (possibly of all 33 million users), they have threatened to reveal identities if Established Men and Ashley Madison aren't taken offline permamanently.
In a statement online, they called the men "cheating dirtbags...who deserve no discretion".
Who? : Whodunnit?
Avid Life Media has brought in the police to assist in the investigation of the hack.
It is believed that the hacker may have been an insider; not an employee, but someone who had worked with and had knowledge of the systems.
At the very least, the hackers had to have had help on the inside.
Status : Rush to cover all bases
In the wake of the hack, Ashley Madison is offering a full delete option, free of cost.
They have admitted that despite the measures they took to protect their customers' personal information, the hackers managed to get into the system.
They have stated that they are working with top IT teams to secure themselves from the attack and to prevent future hacks.
22 Jul 2015: Users open to credit card fraud risk
The biggest threat to Ashley Madison customers if the hackers have all details, then they also have access to their payment details. This makes them vulnerable to credit card fraud.
Even customers who have availed the "hard-delete" option, which wipes clean all information, might be at risk.
The attackers have alleged that the payment details remain on servers despite the delete.
22 Jul 2015: Washing the dirty linen in public
Credit card fraud isn't the only thing scaring the users.
The hackers have stated that they have real names and addresses, in addition to some extremely sensitive information.
These details include users' sexual fantasies and reasons for being on the site.
All this information could be leaked online; 2 have been already. Links to 2500 others was removed by Ashley Madison under copyright law.
24 Aug 2015: Ashley Madison faces $578 million class action lawsuit
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the company which runs Ashley Madison by 2 Canadian lawfirms; the status of the lawsuit "still needs to be certified by the court.
This has come after the details of some 39 million subscribers was published by the hackers last week.
The company declared the publication of these details as an "act of criminality."