Ashley Madison Offers £8.5m To Data Breach Victims

Ashley Madison Offers £8.5m To Data Breach Victims

Ashley Madison Offers £8.5m To Data Breach Victims

The owner of the Ashley Madison adultery website said on Friday it will pay US$11.2 million to settle United States litigation brought on behalf of roughly 37 million users whose personal details were exposed in a July 2015 data breach.

Formerly known as Avid Life Media, owner Ruby Corp denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $11.2m to compensate any losses of USA residents who used the website on or before 20 July, 2015 and can submit valid claims for losses incurred as a result of the data breach.

Ruby Life was known as Avid Dating Life at the time of the Ashley Madison data breach.

The settlement [PDF], which must still be approved by a federal judge, puts an end to a consolidated consumer class-action lawsuit [PDF], accusing the company of using inadequate data security practices and misrepresentations regarding the Ashley Madison website. It also said the data breach resulted in the release of account holders' personal information, including those who paid a fee to have their information deleted from the website.

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Sensitive information, including photographs and "sexual fantasies", was leaked. As a result, users say they were unable to protect themselves, suffering financially loss and other harm.

According to Friday's settlement, users with valid claims can recoup up to $3500 depending on how well they can document their losses attributable to the breach.

The FTC's complaint alleged that Ashley Madison falsely represented that it took "reasonable steps" to secure users' information, and that it lured people into signing up for memberships by showing them fake female profiles - which the company dubbed "engager profiles".

In a statement on the settlement, Ruby notes that just because someone's name was associated with the site through the breach, doesn't mean they were actually a user of the site.

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