Claiming that its security had always been weak, the hackers claimed to have stolen personal information about the site's user base, and threatened to release names, home addresses, search histories and credit card numbers if the site was not immediately shut down.The demand was driven by the site's policy of not deleting users' personal information following their invoiced requests.More data (including some of the CEO's emails) was released on August 20, 2015.
On August 24 the Toronto Police Department spoke of "two unconfirmed reports of suicides" associated with the leak of customer profiles along with extortion attempts, offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the hackers.
CEO Rob Segal said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the company is making ongoing investments to enhance privacy and security safeguards, including a partnership with Deloitte’s cyber security team.
Compounding the problem is that "more men than women use the service, with the disparity increasing as they advance in age", and "Men seek sex, while women seek passion." A page on Ashley Madison, entitled "Is Ashley Madison a scam? " addressed some of these issues in an attempt to win over prospective customers and teach them best practices for using the site.
Ashley Madison had over 70,000 bots sending fake female messages to male users.
In 2012, a former employee claimed in a lawsuit that she was requested to create thousands of fake female accounts attractive to male customers, resulting in repetitive stress injury. In July 2016, CEO Rob Segal and newly appointed President James Millership told Reuters that the company had phased out bots by late 2015.
Segal shared an independent report by EY (Ernst & Young) which verified the phase-out.
In 2015, the Ontario Superior Court dismissed the case without costs, a result with which Avi Weisman, vice-president and general counsel for Avid Life Media, said the company was "very pleased".
the site was hacked by a group known as "The Impact Team".
The site allows users to hide their account profiles for free.