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What Happened With the Ashley Madison Hack in 2015? | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people, exploded into the news after a 2015 data breach leaked private information about its customers. The new Netflix documentary, Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal, takes a look at what happened behind the scenes during the 2015 hack.

What Happened With the Ashley Madison Hack in 2015?

In July 2015, a group of hackers who called themselves the Impact Team managed to breach the servers at Ashley Madison and gain access to the private information of their 37 million customers. The group then threatened to release the information to the public unless Ashley Madison shut down and released a small portion of the names as a warning. However, Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison insisted that their data was secure.

A month later, the Impact Team released all of Ashley Madison’s customers’ data, along with the private emails of Noel Biderman, the site’s CEO at the time. Wired reported that along with the clients’ names, their credit card information and transactions made while using Ashley Madison were released as well.

“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality,” the company said in a statement. “It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities. The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society.”

The Ashley Madison hack was linked to at least two suicides and a class action lawsuit was filed against the company. Biderman stepped down shortly after the Impact Team released the second batch of customer information.

Which Celebrities Were Exposed in the Ashley Madison Hack?

Several celebrities were exposed as Ashley Madison customers during the hack, including former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar and Jersey Shore’s Snooki’s husband, Jionni ​LaValle. Snooki denied that LaValle had any affiliation with the site in 2015 and again in a statement shared at the end of episode 2 of Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal.

Carl Court / Getty Images

Duggar addressed the claims and admitted to using the site.

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” the reality star said after being exposed. “I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”

Other celebs exposed in the hack included Real Housewives of New York’s Kristen Taekman’s husband, Josh Taekman, YouTube star Sam Rader and Hunter Biden. Taekman and Rader admitted to having accounts with Ashley Madison, but Biden denied all allegations.

Is Ashley Madison Still Around?

Ashley Madison still exists in 2024 and they still use their infamous tagline, “Life is short. Have an affair.”

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