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December 13, 2010

Gawker Media Hacked and Accounts Compromised

Gawker Media, who run many other sites including Lifehacker, Gizmodo and io9, have had their servers and databases hacked by a group called Gnosis. This results in over 1.3 million user accounts being compromised, across their various websites. Part of the issue is the fact that Gawker were using the outdated DES algorithm to secure passwords in the database, making it trivial for the hackers to crack the hashes. To make matters worse, many Gawker admins have also been using extremely weak passwords for their accounts. A full account from the hackers’ perspective can be found here, and there is clearly some beef between them and Nick Denton (owner of Gawker) who appears to have been baiting 4chan (baad idea).

The 1.3 million user accounts, together with Gawker Media’s source code, have been made available in a torrent posted on The Pirate Bay. You can quickly check whether your account is one of those by checking out this spreadsheet (Google). It’s safe to say that if you have any accounts on websites run by Gawker Media, you’re going to want to change your password. If you happen to reuse passwords a lot, then you’ll want to change your password everywhere… isn’t password reuse a joy?

See also: Finding Security Bugs in Gawker Source Code

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