With the sensitive data of millions of users of the infidelity dating website Ashley Madison leaking online this week, it is only a matter of time before lawsuits start rolling in.
For one, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman frequently boasted about how secure his site was, a claim important to users trying to keep their membership under wraps. Moreover, thousands of users who left the site paid Ashley Madison to fully delete their information, but it appears their information was retained in credit card records, which were exposed in the hack opening Ashley Madison up to the possibility of false claims lawsuits.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma law firm of Abington Cole + Ellery now appears to be seeking out plaintiffs for what could wind up becoming one of the first class-action lawsuits against Ashley Madison post-hack:
We've reached out to the firm for more details on the suit and will update when we hear back. One Redditor said that he had already contacted the firm about the suit. He wrote that he had signed up for Ashley Madison in his 20s and forgotten about it until six years later, when the leak happened just three weeks before his wedding.
"TL:DR signed up for Ashley Madison 6 years ago, never used the site, didn't pay to delete, my personal info was leaked, I get married in 3 weeks. FML," he wrote.
For victims of the hack whose lives have been upended by the exposure, the damages resulting from Ashley Madison's security failures are irreversible as opposed to hacks like that of Home Depot or Target, in which credit card companies covered much of the loss experienced by customers.
If anyone ever tracks down the anonymous hacking group that has claimed responsibility for the leak, “Impact Team,” Ashley Madison of course will have a strong case itself. In the meantime, we expect to hear about many more lawsuits against Ashley Madison in the coming days and weeks.