So we can say for sure that roughly zero per cent of bots on Ashley Madison are male.The bots also tended to have email addresses, though other popular addresses included things like [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] And finally, tens of thousands of the bots had IP addresses that suggested the accounts had been made by people working at the Ashley Madison office.Whatever the total number of real, active female Ashley Madison users is, the company was clearly on a desperate quest to design legions of fake women to interact with the men on the site.The Ashley Madison source code comes from the second dump released by Impact Team -- at 20 gigabytes compressed, it was about twice the size of the first.As I wrote last week, I came across three columns in one of those tables called "bc_email_last_time," "bc_chat_last_time," and "email_reply_last_time." After consulting with two analysts, and determining that these columns were the only ones with names typically used to track user activity, I concluded that the datestamps in those columns referred to the last time people checked their Ashley Madison messages, or tried to start a chat. Those columns in the data don't record human activity at all.And when I saw the radical disparity between numbers of men with a datestamp and the number of women, I interpreted it to mean that men were emailing a lot with bots, and women barely ever emailed anyone at all. They record the last time a bot -- or "engager" in Ashley Madison's internal parlance -- emailed or chatted with a member of the site.But where can we find human activity in the Impact Team dump? Looking at the code, there appear to be several database tables where the system keeps track of when humans chat or message with other humans.It also seems that Ashley Madison even keeps records of what each member says to the other in chat sessions.
Perkowski also pointed me to a column in the database called ishost.
Software developer Jake Perkowski and pseudonymous Gizmodo commenter Mr.
Falcon had both pored over the code and realised that when bots called "engagers" talked to humans, they were programmed to make a note of it in the database under fields called "bc_chat_last_time," "reply_email_last_time," "or bc_email_last_time." Once I'd checked the sections of code they pointed to, the evidence was undeniable.
Though partly corrupted, it did hold hundreds of readable company emails that revealed the company was paying people to create fake women's profiles and to chat with men on the site.
It also contained multiple git repositories, or containers for source code, that appear to go back to mid-2010.