FTC Is Now on Ashley Madison's Case

New CEO says they're 'truly sorry' for the site messing up people's lives
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2016 7:20 AM CDT
FTC Is Now on Ashley Madison's Case
Big changes are afoot for Ashley Madison, according to its parent company's new execs.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Two new executives at cheaters dating site Ashley Madison are offering up a mega-mea culpa for last year's hack-and-leak of user information, but that's likely not going to stem the flow of issues its parent company is now facing, including class-action lawsuits and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, Reuters reports. CEO Rob Segal and President James Millership have been at the helm of Avid Life Media for three months, notes a Tuesday press release, trying to rebrand and rescue the site after the privacy debacle and the resignation of ex-CEO and self-proclaimed "king of infidelity" Noel Biderman, who Graham Cluley's security site says has "been busy trying to clean the Internet" of his past association with Ashley Madison. "A year ago, Avid Life Media was silenced by a devastating, criminal hack that affected our company and some of our members," Segal says. "The company is truly sorry for how people's lives and relationships may have been affected by the criminal theft of personal information."

Some of the "big changes" Segal notes include a partnership with a Deloitte cybersecurity team—whose leader tells Reuters they found "simple backdoors" into the site's servers—to add privacy and security safeguards, as well as discreet ways to pay. And the Ashley Madison site itself has seen subtle changes, including an assertion that the site "today is about so much more than infidelity, it's about all kinds of adult dating." As for the FTC probe, Avid says it doesn't yet know the specifics, but they're likely to partly revolve around multiple suits for the security breach, as well as for allegations of using "fembots" to interact with male users—something security blogger Cluley calls the "greatest irony of all." "Some men have had their lives ruined and privacy invaded, when their chances of having an affair were close to zero, because they were speaking to a computer program rather than a flirting female," he writes. (Are those masks announced earlier this year part of the site's new security changes?)

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