Krebsonsecurity sued for libel by affair site

Ashley Madison screen shotAshleyMadison, the site which encourages people to have affairs, but turn out not to have the greatest of privacy, is suing KrebsOnSecurity for ruining its reputation.

To be precise, it is AshleyMadison’s former chief technology officer Raja Bhatia doing the suing.

He is upset about a story KrebsOnSecurity posted about emails leaked from AshleyMadison that suggested the company’s former chief technology officer Raja Bhatia hacked into a rival firm in 2012.

According to Bhatia’s attorney, the part of the story they consider defamatory has to do with the headline of the piece and this bit:

“A review of those missives shows that on at least one occasion, a former company executive hacked another dating website, exfiltrating their entire user database. On November 30, 2012, Raja Bhatia, the founding chief technology officer of AshleyMadison.com, sent a message to Biderman notifying his boss of a security hole discovered in nerve.com, an American online magazine dedicated to sexual topics, relationships and culture.”

Nerve.com was experimenting with its own adult dating section, and Bhatia uncovered a way to download and manipulate the nerve.com user database.

“They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base,” Bhatia told Biderman via email, including in the message a link to a Github archive with a sample of the database. “Also, I can turn any non-paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.”

Brian Krebs who runs the site said he had no intention of posting a retraction or correcting any elements of this story. However, he suspects that Bhatia’s lawyer might start issuing libel and defamation threats from AshleyMadison and/or its current and former employees against others to run the story.