Ex-Ashley Madison CTO threatens Brian Krebs with libel suit over rival hacking claims

Sep 11, 2015
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One of the more unusual things to come from the Ashley Madison hack was the discovery that AM’s founding CTO, Raja Bhatia, had apparently hacked another company, Nerve, after that company expressed an interest in setting up a competing adult dating service.

That story was first reported by Brian Krebs, and it seems that Bhatia, no longer at Ashley Madison, isn’t very happy with it. His lawyer has threatened Krebs with a libel suit.


Krebs sourced his piece from e-mails that were leaked in the hack. Nerve was reportedly in talks with Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, about the possibility of a partnership or investment. Krebs wrote that Bhatia was initially interested enough to make a $20 million offer for the company, but that ultimately Ashley Madison backed away. A few months later, Bhatia e-mailed now-departed Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman to claim that he “got [Nerve.com’s] entire user base” and linked to a sample of the Nerve.com database.

The legal threat takes particular issue with Krebs’ headline (“Leaked AshleyMadison Emails Suggest Execs Hacked Competitors”) and his description of what Bhatia allegedly did. Bhatia’s lawyer is demanding that Krebs pull his piece and issue a retraction.

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