Ashley Madison hack costs CEO Noel Biderman his job

The news comes a day after leaked e-mails showing Biderman having multiple affairs himself

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 28, 2015
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There have been many, many people affected by the Ashley Madison hacking scandal. Perhaps millions of them, including the spouses of those who cheated and their children. Now the incident has claimed one high profile victim. And I mean that in more ways than one.

One day after it was revealed that Noel Biderman, the Chief Executive Officer of Avid Life Media (ALM), Ashley Madison's parent company, was taking advantage of his own services, he is now out of a job.

According to a brief statement released by Avid Life, the departure was a result of a "mutual agreement," between Biderman and the company. This change seems to have come somewhat suddenly, as no new CEO is being named at this time, and the company will instead be run by "existing senior management" until a new CEO is appointed.

There's no indication as to whether the release of Biderman's personal indiscretions contributed to the decision to let him go as CEO, or if the timing was a mere coincidence. VatorNews has reached out to ALM for clarification of this, but the company had no comment at this time.

"This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base," the company said in its statement. "We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members' privacy by criminals. We will continue to provide access to our unique platforms for our worldwide members."

ALM first admitted that it was hacked in July, with the company saying that it had "immediately launched a thorough investigation utilizing leading forensics experts and other security professionals to determine the origin, nature, and scope of this incident."

While taking steps to take down information that was published online, the company could obviously not take back the information that was already stolen. And so, as was inevitable, the company revealed that that info had also been leaked online in a massive dump. 

The number of users who had some of their information stolen in the hack is said to be somewhere around 37 million, though there is speculation that that number is somewhat trumped up, given the high probability of users using burner email addresses to create accounts. 

One thing we do know is that Ashley Madison users did not have their credit card information stolen. The company went out of its way to make sure that piece of information was made public. Everything else is going to have to wait.

ALM is obviously taking the whole incident very seriously, especially after reports of multiple suicides following the leak, and it has even gone so far as to offer a substantial reward to anyone that gives the company information that leads to the arrest of the hackers.

It's not unheard of for a CEO to lose his job after a high profile hacking. Just ask ex-Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel. He can tell you all about that.

As bad as a breach like the one that hit Target was, though, the Ashley Madison hack was so much worse simply because of the nature of the site. As a service built on secrecy, Ashley Madison needed to have the absolute trust of its users that their information would be kept secret and safe. This hack was incredibly damaging to the company's reputation, and it's hard to imagine anyone trusting it, or services like it, ever again.

Perhaps the fact that it will now be that much more difficult for spouses to cheat on each other is the silver lining of this whole thing. 

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