- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2015

Ashley Madison says a massive security breach of the dating site and its 30 million-plus users hasn’t slowed new signups, claiming that hundreds of thousands of new accounts have been registered in the last week amid global legal disputes and the loss of company’s chief executive.

“Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing,” its parent company, Avid Life Media, said in a statement Monday.

Downplaying recent reports that have predicted Ashley Madison’s “imminent demise,” the Toronto-based firm said the hacked dating site has been moving forward with its day-to-day operations and has had “hundreds of thousands of new users” sign up last week.

“We have customers in nearly every zip code in the United States, as well as users in more than 50 countries around the world,” Avid said. “The Ashley Madison app is the 14th highest grossing app1 in the USA social networking category in the Apple app store. Approximately 70 percent of our revenue on any given day is from members making repeat purchases. We think that shows happy customers on a consistent basis.”

Court filings and the resignation of longtime Avid CEO Noel Biderman have suggested otherwise, however. Former Ashley Madison users have filed suit in the U.S. and Canada accusing the site of negligence, breach of contract and causing emotional distress as a result of the breach that allowed hackers to leak account details of more than 30 million members.

Avid announced Friday that Mr. Biderman had stepped down from the company and that senior management would assume his duties in the interim while a replacement is sought.

Police say Ashley Madison, a site that caters to individuals seeking extramarital affairs, was compromised on or before July 12 by hackers calling themselves The Impact Team. The group took credit a few days later and threatened to publish stolen data from Avid’s servers unless Ashley Madison and a partner site, Established Men, were taken offline.

A hoard of user records and corporate files was leaked online one month later when the hackers’ demands weren’t met.

Subsequent reviews of the stolen data has spawned numerous accusations about the company and its users, including allegations that Ashley Madison was frequented almost entirely by men. In Monday’s statement, Avid fired back and said 87,596 women have registered accounts during the last week and that 2.8 million messages sent within Ashley Madison during that same time were from women.

“Some journalists have turned the focus of the criminal act against Ashley Madison inside out, attacking us instead of the hackers,” Avid said. Previously, the company announced a $500,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Ashley Madison hackers.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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