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On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.

Because of the site's policy of not deleting users' personal information – including real names, home addresses, search history and credit card transaction records – many users feared being publicly shamed.

The "affair-minded" dating website Ashley Madison saw personal data on millions of members in 46 countries released through a hacker group in 2015, the fallout of which led to reports of blackmail and even suicides (AFP Photo/EVA HAMBACH)Washington (AFP) - The operators of the Ashley Madison affair-minded dating website agreed Wednesday to pay a

On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.Because of the site's policy of not deleting users' personal information – including real names, home addresses, search history and credit card transaction records – many users feared being publicly shamed.

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On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.

Because of the site's policy of not deleting users' personal information – including real names, home addresses, search history and credit card transaction records – many users feared being publicly shamed.

The "affair-minded" dating website Ashley Madison saw personal data on millions of members in 46 countries released through a hacker group in 2015, the fallout of which led to reports of blackmail and even suicides (AFP Photo/EVA HAMBACH)Washington (AFP) - The operators of the Ashley Madison affair-minded dating website agreed Wednesday to pay a $1.6 million penalty over a data breach exposing data from 36 million users, US officials announced.

.6 million penalty over a data breach exposing data from 36 million users, US officials announced.

Using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), our team has now successfully removed the posts related to this incident as well as all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about our users published online." with a PGP key.

In its message, the group blamed Avid Life Media, accusing the company of deceptive practices: "We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn't deliver." None of the accounts on the website need email verification for the profile to be created, meaning that people often create profiles with fake email addresses, and sometimes people who have similar names accidentally confuse their email address, setting up accounts for the wrong email address.

According to the FTC complaint, until August 2014, operators of the site lured customers, including 19 million Americans, with fake profiles of women designed to convert them into paid members.

The company failed to adequately protect users' personal information such as date of birth, relationship status and sexual preferences.

The Impact Team announced the attack on 15 July 2015 and threatened to expose the identities of Ashley Madison's users if its parent company, Avid Life Media, did not shut down Ashley Madison and its sister site, "Established Men".

"At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points.She also found that a very high number of the women's accounts were created from the same IP address suggesting there were many fake accounts.She found women checked email messages very infrequently: for every 1 time a woman checked her email, 13,585 men checked theirs.Only 9,700 of the 5 million female account had ever replied to a message, compared to the 5.9 million men who would do the same.She concluded that, "The women's accounts show so little activity that they might as well not be there".The financial penalty, split between the federal government and US states suing the company, would increase to .75 million if Ashley Madison fails to abide by new information security practices and refrain from misleading consumers."This case represents one of the largest data breaches that the FTC has investigated to date, implicating 36 million individuals worldwide," said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez."The global settlement requires Ashley to implement a range of more robust data security practices that will better protect its users' personal information from criminal hackers going forward."Earlier this year, the dating website -- whose motto had been "life is short, have an affair" rebooted, calling itself an "open-minded dating" service.

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