As soon as that happened, subscribers started to panic, not so much fearing the compromise of their credit cards as frantic over the exposure of love affairs and private photos.
Researchers, meanwhile, put themselves to work and started to analyze the website’s source code, quickly uncovering a number of ciruous findings.
Suppose you thought about stepping out on your spouse, started up an Ashley Madison profile and then promptly regretted it.
Ashley Madison gives you three ways to act on your regret: (1) to hide your profile from search, meaning users you don’t already know will struggle to find it; (2) to hide the profile entirely, which will make it invisible but still allow you to reactive it; and (3) the big one: the “Full Delete,” which promises to nuke every message you’d ever sent or received, all your browsing history and any other evidence that you’d ever so much as heard of Ashley Madison/dreamt about cheating.
Ashley Madison charges for this service, and, according to Ars Technica, from 8,000 to 18,000 people take them up on it in the average month. While it might seem unfair, even extortionate, to charge people to delete their accounts, most sites — dating and otherwise — don’t give you any options for completely erasing your data and past account behavior.
A year ago, a massive breach had a profound impact on the lives of registered users of Ashley Madison, a “dating” site for married people, and nearly killed a thriving yet controversial business.
The Ashley Madison hackers, a previously unknown group calling itself the Impact Team, exposed more than 37 million user records from 40 countries, as well as the website’s source code and internal corporate correspondence among the company’s top management.