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Gawker Media Websites Shut Down After Hackers Hit User Database


“We’re deeply embarrassed by this breach.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Gawker Media Inc. is urging subscribers to change their passwords because hackers have found their way into the company's user databases.

The company said in a posting on its website Sunday that the passwords were encrypted, but simple ones could be vulnerable to attacks by hackers' computers.

Gawker runs a series of blogs on the media, technology and other issues.

The company says it is embarrassed by the breach. It says passwords should be changed on other sites where the same password was used.

Gawker's Gizmodo tech blog gained fame in May when it posted pictures of an iPhone prototype. The phone was lost by an Apple Inc. engineer in a Silicon Valley bar.

Messages were left Sunday for Gawker chief Nick Denton.


Web sites belonging to Gawker Media abruptly stopped publishing on Sunday after mischief-making hackers gained access to the company’s servers.

People who had accounts on the flagship Gawker, Gizmodo, Jezebel and the company’s other Web sites were told to change their passwords because, it said in a statement, “our user databases appear to have been compromised.” Working anonymously, the hackers indicated that they had found more than 1.3 million user names and passwords, though it was unclear whether all of the data had been decrypted.

The hackers published the passwords of some Gawker staff members and mockingly identified thousands of users who had listed their password as “password.”

Gawker’s Web sites run on a homegrown content management system, and some of the source code for that system was leaked by the hackers on Sunday. The hackers, who worked under the name “Gnosis,” published an article on Gawker that contained a link to the code.

Gawker Media became aware of the hacking attempt on Saturday, and staff scrambled to figure out how much virtual damage had been done. On Sunday afternoon, publishing came to a halt, apparently because the company was resetting the passwords for its dozens of writers and editors.

On Twitter, one of the bloggers for Jezebel wrote, “I’d write a post about how we’ve been hacked and can’t publish, but we’ve been hacked and can’t publish.”

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