Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman resigned on Friday, following the data hack which released confidential information about millions of Ashley Madison’s clients, including Josh Duggar. A hacker or group of hackers known as the Impact Team claimed responsibility for the security breach last week. They exposed the email addresses, names, and other information from millions of users of the site, which claims to connect people who are looking to have affairs. The company is currently facing at least five lawsuits seeking class-action status and more than a half-billion dollars.
The leadership change follows a hacking that revealed the email addresses of more than 30 million members of Avid Life Media’s dating websites, at least one of which was targeted at married members. As a result, law firms have said they would file lawsuits against the Canadian company. The customer base’s personal information was spread far and wide across the internet earlier this month, with police tying multiple blackmail attempts and at least two suicides to the leak. A 500,000 Canadian dollar reward (approximately $376,000 USD) is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. Avid Life Media is the parent company of the adultery website which released a statement following Biderman’s resignation.
Effective today, Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company,” said an unattributed statement on the Ashley Madison website. “Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team.”
The hacker group known as “The Impact Team,” said the breach was spurred by a disagreement with Avid Life Media’s business practices, specifically a “full delete” feature. For $19, the company allows repentant cheaters to scrub their information from the website.
Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the Impact Team wrote after the hack last month. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
Security specialist Brian Krebs has posted new information on the hack, including a possible lead: a Twitter user (or, as Krebs speculates, users) called Thadeus Zu posted a link to the hack before anyone else and appears to have had special knowledge of the data breach before anyone else did. The emails – released by an entity calling itself The Impact Team – appear to be from Biderman’s work email and their release had already done damage to his personal reputation: the executive told the New York Daily News in 2014 that he had never cheated on his wife, but the hacked documents suggested otherwise.