In July of 2015 it was first learned that the Ashley Madison dating site had experienced a major data breach affecting 36 million of its members. Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking to have extra-marital affairs formerly used the slogan, “Life is short, have an affair.” Ashley Madison was hacked by a group calling itself Impact Team. Impact Team released information on 36 million users of Ashley Madison including names, addresses, sexual interests and credit card details.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 13 state attorneys general sued Ashley Madison and later settled. Under the terms of the settlement Ashley Madison was required to implement a comprehensive data security program and pay 1.66 million dollars to the FTC and the states involved with the charges.
Now it appears that Ashley Madison, which is owned by Ruby Corp. has agreed to a settlement of the separate class action brought by Ashley Madison customers whose personal information was leaked. According to the terms of the 11.2 million dollar settlement, victims of the data breach will be paid up to $3,500 each. The settlement has been agreed to, but needs court approval before it can be final. I will report to you when that occurs.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this matter, as millions of Ashley Madison customers suffered the consequences of having their involvement with the dating service made public, is that your personal information is only as safe as the places with the worst security that have your personal information. It also is obvious that the more places that have your personal information, the more at risk you are. Therefore you should limit the places that have your personal information as much as possible. In addition, you should not leave your credit card on record with a company for convenience sake even if it is a company with which you regularly do business. Unless you agree to have your credit card information saved, companies with which you use your credit card are not allowed to store that information.