Ashley Madison is a dating site like no other, one with real shock factor - and it made major headlines when the contents of its database were hacked and leaked worldwide.


And now, Netflix is putting that event front and centre in Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal.

The dating site, which is still up and running today, was designed for people seeking out affairs. But in 2015, the site was hacked and millions of users' intimate data was exposed to the world.

The three-parter explores the creation of the website and the hack that created a crisis, and speaks to those directly involved in the scandal, including one couple whose marriage became a talking point on major news sites.

But what exactly was the Ashley Madison scandal, and who was behind the infamous hack? Read on for everything you need to know.

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What was the Ashley Madison scandal?

A silhouette of two people sitting and eating, with one with his hands in his head looking at his phone.
Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal. Netflix

In July 2015, an unknown group or person announced it had stolen data from those using the site and was planning to release names and personal information if the site did not close down.

Cathy, a former customer service representative, said in the documentary: "We had an overnight customer service rep and the message popped up on her screen, 'We are The Impact Team. We have taken over all systems in your entire office and production domains. Ashley Madison must shut down immediately [and] permanently.'"

Evan Back, former vice president of sales at Ashley Madison, described the hack as "just crazy".

At the time, the Ashley Madison website published three statements addressing the hack, noting that they were working with law enforcement and that those behind the hack would be "held responsible".

In August of the same year, more than 60 gigabytes of data was released, including personal user details and information that users had paid to delete.

Who hacked Ashley Madison?

The mystery as to who specifically hacked Ashley Madison is unknown. All that is known is that a group called The Impact Team were behind it.

Why was it called Ashley Madison?

As described in the documentary, Ashley Madison came to fruition as those were the two most popular names in the US at the time.

Two people sat with their backs to each other in a kitchen.
Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal. Netflix

When was Ashley Madison created?

Ashley Madison was first launched in 2001, under the slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair."

Where is Noel Biderman now?

Noel Biderman was the CEO of the dating site at the time of the breach, but shortly after he stepped down from the role.

As of 2023, Biderman moved into the cryptocurrency field and is CEO of a company called Avenue Insights, as well as a strategic advisor at WonderFi.

Ashley Madison: Sex, Liees & Scandal is available to stream on Netflix now.


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