Ashley Madison Hacking: The Dark Web Gets Even Darker

Ashley Madison Hacking: The Dark Web Gets Even Darker
Case Code: ITSY087
Case Length: 16 Pages
Period: 2015-2016
Pub Date: 2016
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: Avid Living Media
Industry: Portal
Countries: US; Europe; Global
Themes: MIS, Security and control in information system, Data Security, Cyber Security
Ashley Madison Hacking: The Dark Web Gets Even Darker
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


This case deals with the data hack issue involving the Ashley Madison website and emphasizes the importance of a secure management information and data security system for an organization. Ashley Madison, an infidelity website owned by Avid Living Media, was hacked by a group calling itself the Impact Team in July 2015. Impact stole the customer information profiles along with the sexual preferences and personal data of the users and threatened to shut down ALM’s network of cheating websites. They also threatened to publish the hacked data online if ALM did not shut down those websites. ALM did not take any step toward closure of the websites but assured its customers that their data was safe. Eventually, Impact put the data on different search engines like This created panic among the customers of Ashley Madison as they feared that exposure of their information online would destroy their existing relationships and their reputation.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the issues and challenges involved in maintaining a secure management information system.
  • Analyze how Avid Life Media can cope with the data breach issue.
  • Explore ways to establish a network of reliable and safe online transactions.



Security and control in information system; Data security system; Secure management information system; Data Breach; Hacking; Cyber risk assessments; Ethics; Crisis management;

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