Adultery dating website Ashley Madison is facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) following a hack back in 2015.
In the breach, a hacker group known as “The Impact Team” published the account details of all 37 million users of the website. That dump of members’ personal and financial information led to several lawsuits, suicide reports, scamming attacks, and the resignation of Noel Biderman, then-CEO of Ashley Madison’s parent company Avid Life Media (AVM).
The hack, which cost AVM a quarter of its revenue, also exposed several issues at the company.
Among them was Ashley Madison’s alleged use of fake female user accounts, or “fembots,” to lure men into signing up and paying for the site. The adultery website at first denied those allegations, but as reported by The Guardian, an investigation conducted by independent auditors Ernst & Young on behalf of Avid Life Media later confirmed Ashley Madison had indeed used fake accounts.
Close to a year after the hack, AVM has appointed Rob Segal as its chief executive and James Millership as its president. Together, the new leadership is working to not only improve Ashley Madison’s brand but to also enhance the website’s security and privacy features.
As Segal said in a statement posted on the company’s website:
“A year ago, Avid Life Media was silenced by a devastating, criminal hack that affected our company and some of our members. The company is truly sorry for how people’s lives and relationships may have been affected by the criminal theft of personal information. That’s why we’re charting a new course and making some big changes. Like all businesses in today’s security reality, Avid Life Media has been investing even more heavily in security enhancements and privacy safeguards to deal with evolving cyber threats over the past year, and that will continue.”
Those measures include partnering with security firm Deloitte to create new security safeguards, set up 24/7 account monitoring, and introduce secure payment options.
Segal and Millership are not aware of the exact focus of the FTC’s investigation, though the Federal Trade Commission does have the authority to investigate cases where customers were told their information would be stored securely but then had their data mishandled.
As of this writing, a spokesperson from the FTC has yet to comment on the investigation.