Gawker Sites Hacked, Staff & Commenting Passwords Released

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Blog empire Gawker Media was under siege this weekend as a group of hackers gained access to the company’s servers.

(More on Techland: Who Are The WikiLeaks Hacktivists?)

Hackers who identify themselves as part of the group Gnosis not only hacked into flagship site Gawker, but also its sister sites Gizmodo, io9, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Lifehacker and Deadspin – accessing information to more than 1.3 million commenting accounts. Gawker acknowledged the breach Sunday afternoon, bringing publication to an abrupt halt. “We’re deeply embarrassed by this breach,” the company said in a statement. “We should not be in the position of relying on the goodwill of the hackers who identified the weakness in our systems. And, yes, the irony is not lost on us.”

In an e-mail exchange with Mediaite, one of the alleged hackers wrote that the group went after Gawker because of “their outright arrogance.” In July, the site taunted 4Chan when attempts to hack Gawker failed outright, and though Mediaite’s e-mail chain suggests Gnosis isn’t in line with 4Chan’s band of ‘hacktivists,’ it’s clear Gawker’s dealings with 4Chan fueled the attack, as internal message boards with 4Chan-related taunts were posted, along with other sensitive site information, on torrent tracker ThePirateBay. “We have had access to all of their emails for a long time as well as most of their infrastructure powering the site,” the e-mail said. “Gawkmedia has possibly the worst security I have ever seen. It is scary how poor it is.”

(More on Techland: Hackers Target MasterCard For Shuttering WikiLeaks Payments)

As for the commenters affected in the hack, Gawker is urging its users to change the passwords to their accounts, and all other accounts that use the same password. (Users who connected via Facebook Connect are safe from the breach.) In the future, Gawker claims it will bring in an independent security team to ensure the protection of its servers as well as “a safe environment for our commenters.”