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Cybersecurity

Ashley Madison owner says website still adding users after hackers reveal subscribers' details, point to fake profiles of women

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2015, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 12:46pm

Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for infidelity website Ashley Madison in the last week, parent company Avid Life Media said this week, even after hackers leaked data about millions of its clients.

The company also struck back at reports that the site had few genuine female users, saying internal data released by hackers had been incorrectly analysed.

"Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated," the company said in a statement. "Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing."

READ MORE: Flirting with the truth: Just 2,600 Hong Kong men paid to join Ashley Madison as hack reveals cheating site exaggerated numbers

On August 18, hackers who claimed to be unhappy with Avid Life’s business practices released Ashley Madison customer data. A second data dump contained thousands of emails and other company documents. The authenticity of the data, emails and documents has not been independently verified.

Last week, tech blog Gizmodo published a widely cited analysis of the customer data, concluding that very few female members had ever checked the site for messages.

Avid Life said on Monday that an unnamed reporter had wrongly concluded that the number of active female members on Ashley Madison could be calculated based on assumptions about the meaning of fields contained in the leaked data.

READ MORE: Most adulterous area of Hong Kong revealed: Ashley Madison 'cheating map' shows surprising results

"Last week alone, women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform," Avid Life said, adding that 87,596 women had also signed up for Ashley Madison last week.

Gizmodo published another post on Monday, saying it had arrived at a low number of active female users "based in part on a misunderstanding of the evidence."

On Friday, Avid Life said CEO Noel Biderman had left the company by mutual agreement.

For at least three years before the publication of details about its members, Avid Life had been struggling to sell itself or raise funds, according to internal documents and emails that hackers also released. 

The website, which does not operate in mainland China, launched in Hong Kong in 2013. It was immediately attacked as a threat to family life.