Over the weekend, commenting accounts and the content management systems for Gawker Media were hacked by a group calling itself Gnosis. Gawker Media, which consists of Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Gawker, Jezebel, io9, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Deadspin, and Fleshbot, failed to protect sensitive information that includes passwords and e-mail addresses of 200,000 users and staff members. The company is warning people to change their passwords on its and other sites.
Gnosis has posted a 500MB torrent file on ThePirateBay, hoping to humble Gawker founder Nick Denton for his apparent lack of fear of the group 4Chan and Anonymous who have caused web-attack havoc on everything from Sarah Palin’s e-mail account to the Church of Scientology. Gnosis and 4Chan and Anonymous do not appear to be related.
Lifehacker has posted an FAQ to help users protect their passwords, which in today’s connected environment could have bigger implications than one’s ability to post comments on Gizmodo. Many people use common or easy-to-break passwords, and then use the same one everywhere from e-mail to banking accounts.