The day of reckoning is near for AshleyMadison.com if they still continue to operate as hackers threaten to expose its 37 million user’s personal information and credit card details.
According to Reuters, the company was supposed to list its shares in London this year by raising $200 million after half a decade of attempts due to “lack of investors’ appetite” to launch in Canada. However, a recent hack could end the company’s plans.
Hackers are blackmailing the infidelity site with threats of leaking nude photos, real names and credit card information of its global patrons should the site continue operations.
While some of the basic features on the website are free, customers are billed upon exchanging messages, photographs and gifts. They also have an option to delete their profiles for $19, but hackers reveal that users’ information can still be exposed thru their credit card information.
Two Canadian investment bankers (who refused to share their identities) have insights regarding this news.
“The doomsday scenario for Ashley Madison is if the hackers take all the names and addresses, correlates them to real people and prints addresses and phone numbers. That will kill it,” one revealed to Reuters.
“Of course they’re going to have to put any IPO plans on ice. It will be at least a few months before any banks would consider touching it. I don’t think this kills the company, unless all the data eventually gets leaked.” the second investor added.
Avid Life, who owns AshleyMadison.com, Cougarlife.com and EstablishedMen.com, haven’t made a statement regarding the issue yet. However, they are now working with the authorities in finding the culprit.
Moreover, Spokesman Paul Keable claimed that it is “too early to estimate the damage to the company’s business model or IPO plans from the breach.”
While no user details have been released from the Ashley Madison hack yet, TIME reveals that 20% percent of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is registered on the site.
“Around 1 in 5 of the population is registered on Ashley Madison, a social network aimed at married people,” the site wrote.
“The sleepy city, with a population of around 883,000 boasts 189,810 users, according to Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns the service.”
Ashley Madison is a site aimed at married people, going with a slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.”