Ashley Madison hack settlement values personal data at around 33 cents per user

Is 33c per user account enough?
ashley madison hack

Remember 2015, when hackers breached Ashley Madison’s systems and stole troves of personal user data, before going on to put that information online? Yeah, we do too. Now, some two years on, the parent company of the service, Ruby Life Inc. (formerly Avid Life Media), has agreed to an $11.2 million settlement to resolve class action lawsuits filed in July 2015.

There’s still one step to go in the process – the proposed agreement needs to be approved by the court – but if that goes ahead, the full amount will be put into a settlement fund “which will provide, among other things, payments to settlement class members who submit valid claims for alleged losses resulting from the data breach and alleged misrepresentations as described further in the proposed settlement agreement,” Ruby said in a statement.

Accepting any wrongdoing is not part of the settlement agreement.

“In 2015, hackers gained access to ruby’s computer networks and published certain personal information contained in Ashley Madison accounts. Account credentials were not verified for accuracy during this timeframe and accounts may have been created using other individuals’ information.  Therefore, ruby wishes to clarify that merely because a person’s name or other information appears to have been released in the data breach does not mean that person actually was a member of Ashley Madison.”

Plaintiffs filed the class action complaint on the basis that Ashley Madison hadn’t adequately secured its website from hackers, and hadn’t deleted personal data, despite offering users a specific charged service that claimed to erase it. Canadian police reported at the time that the leak of 33 million user details had lead to at least one suicide. A simple calculation later, and you can see that 11.2 million divided by 37 million makes each item of personal data worth about 33 cents.

Since the Ashley Madison breach, hackers have targeted other adult-focused sites, including the Adult Friend Finder network, which resulted in personal information about more than 400 million people finding its way into hackers’ hands.

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