Gawker hack prompts widespread password changes
The safety of millions of Internet users who use their emails for private and professional communications is now highly questionable after a Gawker Media hack exposed the user names, emails and passwords of some 1.3 million users.
Simple cracking tools were used by security firm Duo Security to quickly crack a third of the passwords. This shows how lax the password analysis is among email users who used silly and easy-to-guess passwords like “123456”.
A BBC report shows that users have been asked to change their passwords in LinkedIn, Yahoo and Twitter to ensure their safety. The common practice of having the same password for different web accounts has also been blamed for the insecurity of passwords.
Right after the Gawker affair, there was a notable spam outbreak on Twitter, with account hijackers tweeting about diet pills. Twitter noted: “A current attack appears to be due to the Gawker compromise.”
Changing of password has been asked not only from email users but also from World of Warcraft players. This should be a wake-up call for those who use very simple passwords not only in one, but numerous accounts.
The Gawker user database hacking may be considered by hackers a mere harmless prank but it has created a ripple effect and has led other sites to warn their users about possible breach of security.
The Gawker hackers stole not only around 1.5 million email addresses and passwords but they even posted them online. Sites like the Gilt Groupe matched the email addresses of their users to the addresses published by the hackers and then notified the concerned users about the need to change passwords.
“We are contacting you as your Gilt email address matches an email address published in the Gawker list,” the email says. “As many people often use the same password for multiple sites, we strongly suggest that you change your Gilt password as well as do so on other sites where the password you have is the same as your Gawker password.”