London, Dec 14 (ANI): An attack by hackers on online gossip site Gawker Media has enabled spammers to take over thousands of Twitter accounts after the users' passwords were stolen.
Gawker revealed on December 12 that its servers had been hacked and 1.3 million user account passwords compromised, and it published a statement on its homepage advising users to change their passwords.
A group allied to the notorious image board 4Chan then published a file containing those details on a file-sharing site, and that enabled spammers to break into thousands of Twitter accounts where users had used the same passwords.
A group calling itself 'Gnosis' subsequently released a 500MB file containing the data taken from Gawker on the file-sharing system Bittorrent.
Hackers had previously targeted Gawker after it posted blogs critical of 4Chan, which also took over Gawker-run Twitter accounts to publish messages supporting Wikileaks.
The gossip site has also published blogs critical of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and it is not just Gawker's Twitter accounts that have been broken in to.Del Harvey, who heads Twitter's trust and security team said a spam attack on the site appeared to be related to the theft of Gawker's account details.
"It's all too common that people use the same password for multiple accounts," the BBC quoted Rik Ferguson, a security researcher at Trend Micro as saying.
Anybody that has had their Gawker account details published can expect to be targeted by other hackers, said Graham Cluley, a consultant at security firm Sophos.
"Every identity thief, hacker and spammer out there will be attracted to that password file," he added. (ANI)