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August 26, 2015

Ashley Madison reportedly planned hack on competitor

CTO found loopholes in rival Nerve.com’s security settings.

By CBR Staff Writer

Ashley Madison apparently planned to violate the website of its rival Nerve.com in 2012, according to internal emails leaked as part of the Impact Team hack revealed.

In an email conversation between Ashley‘s parent company Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman and CTO Raja Bhatia, the latter mentions about flaws in Nerve’s security systems.

Bhatia reportedly wrote that he could tinker with Nerve’s system to download and manipulate its user database.

Nerve.com is a US online magazine that deals with topics related to sex, relationships and culture, with the company experimenting with its own adult dating section in 2012.

Bhatia said in an email: "They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base.

"Also, I can turn any non paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc."

Bhatia even gave out links to a Github archive with a sample of the database to Biderman.

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The emails also highlight that six months after finding the security hole, Biderman was set to meet with several representatives of Nerve to discuss a partnership.

Initially Avid Life Media was willing to offer at least $20m for the company but the deal did not materialise.

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