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CEO steps down in wake of Ashley Madison hack

Last Updated Aug 28, 2015 5:23 PM EDT

In the wake of the hacking attack that exposed millions of customers of the Ashley Madison cheating site, the CEO of the site's parent company is stepping down.

A statement issued Friday by the company, Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM), said Noel Biderman is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and is no longer with the company. It said the change was made by "mutual agreement" and is "in the best interest of the company."

The statement went on to say:

We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members' privacy by criminals. We will continue to provide access to our unique platforms for our worldwide members.

We are actively cooperating with international law enforcement in an effort to bring those responsible for the theft of proprietary member and business information to justice.

Ashley Madison -- whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair" -- was thoroughly compromised by hackers going by the name "Impact Team."

When the company refused the hackers' demands to shut down the site, the names and personal data of more than 30 million members were exposed online.

Several users have already filed lawsuits against the company, which previously offered assurances that their personal data was secure, and some users have been targeted for extortion, scams or blackmail.

The identity of the hackers remains a mystery, but Biderman told security expert Brian Krebs, who first reported the hack in July, that he believed someone involved "was definitely a person here that was not an employee but certainly had touched our technical services."

Biderman's departure didn't surprise veteran cybersecurity executive Michael DeCesare. "Someone had to take the fall for this, and he's the one at the top," DeCesare, the president and CEO of ForeScout Technologies, told CBS News. "He didn't take the necessary precautions to protect his customers' data. Millions of people gave their personal information and credit card numbers to a cloud provider that didn't keep them safe."

DeCesare said the case should be a lesson for other companies on the importance of imposing layers of security to protect customer data. "We've got to hold these cloud providers -- it doesn't matter whether it's Ashley Madison or Target -- we've got to hold them accountable for keeping our information safe," he said. "There are a lot of CEOs that read that article and they're calling their tech departments and saying, 'How safe are we?' -- which is what they should be doing."

Avid Life Media, which is based in Toronto, is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading the arrest of the people behind the hack, Canadian police said Monday.