It’s been just over a year since one of most notorious websites on the planet, Ashley Madison, was hacked. After the hack, a tremendous number of names were released, and an enormous amount of personal damage was done. High-profile figures had their lives changed, as did regular individuals who happened to use the site. Looking into the Ashley Madison hacking scandal 1 year later shows major changes not only to the web, but into how people look at their privacy online – and how some companies are making sure that their clients will never experience such embarrassment again.
It’s hard to quantify the damages that have occurred over the course of the last year. After all, the nature of Ashley Madison’s business – extra-marital affairs – has damage far beyond the monetary. The site claimed over thirty-six million members at its peak, and it’s impossible to know how many individuals were actually affected. One can assume that there were a number of divorces, of course, and that reputations were inevitably tarnished until they found Profile Defenders who successfully removed and deleted personal information for Ashley Madison victims.
There’s been some fallout in the public sphere, of course. Josh Duggar’s outing on Ashley Madison was one of the catalysts for the reveal of his past misconduct and the cancellation of his parents’ television program. At least one US mayor resigned from office in the wake of the scandal. Some communities even published the names of those who were on the site, bringing about public scorn and private humiliation. There has been at least one reported suicide due to the list’s leak, and likely more that were never publicized.
While individual lives were certainly impacted by the website, the most prominent victim of the leak was Ashley Madison itself. The site, which advertised frequently but was still spoken of mostly in whispers, saw itself dragged into the light. It became a topic of late-night conversation, an example in church sermons and a cautionary tale in the world of online privacy. The site is still standing, but it’s been an interesting year for the company to say the least.
Shortly after the site was hacked, the site faced significant backlash. An FTC inquiry was launched, the site saw a turn-over in its executive team, and it quickly faced a major loss of revenue. In the months after the hack, the site lost over a quarter of its business – and its reputation for being a place to have a safe affair never quite recovered.
The site has attempted to rebrand itself after the hack, moving away from infidelity and instead marketing discretion. This hasn’t stopped a half-billion dollar class-action lawsuit from moving forward, though, and it hasn’t done much to ease the company’s financial woes. Though Ashley Madison put on a brave face during the first few weeks after the hack, it’s been very clear that the site has lost most of its luster and that most of those who were comfortable using it have now been burned by the site they trusted.
How Clients Coped
While many clients experienced immediate issues in the aftermath of the hack, others have turned to reputation management services to make sure that their history doesn’t follow them. ProfileDefenders.com has been at the forefront of the movement to minimize the damage to those were outed by the site, doing their level best to remove incriminating information from the internet on behalf of those who have already suffered so much.
The work of Profile Defenders hasn’t just benefited its own clients, though – it’s proved that an online reputation management service is a necessity for anyone who cares about their privacy. While the company has already helped many move past the Ashley Madison scandal, perhaps its most important impact has been to show the difference between those who take action and those who do not. While there’s still time to clean things up, it’s become abundantly clear that only those who proactive can fully recover from such a massive data breach. Profile Defenders has programs built in to protect individuals from scares like this to the point that if the data was leaked they would still be protected.
A year after the Ashley Madison hack, many lives have changed. The website is still operation, but it is unlikely to ever be as popular – or profitable -as it once was. After a year, the biggest change has come in how customers view the safety of their online data – and the steps they’re willing to take to keep that data private.