I spend too much time on Gawker in general - too often during the day, and occasionally to the detriment of other things in my life. I know this because today, one day after they had been hacked (with user e-mails and passwords leaked onto the web) I clicked on the first article that came up this morning. Then my spyware program did something that it had never done before. While I was in the middle of reading the post about the hacking, a giant X came up on my computer screen, and a message underneath it said, “This site is currently unsafe!”
Do you know what I did then? I went to the Gawker home page and clicked on Jezebel. (Gawkers sister site)
In my weak defense I was trying to find out whether or not my information had been released. Commenters were freaking out and trying to steer each other through the mess, and I was hoping for someone to help navigate me through the chaos, to find out what was going on. It wasn't until later in the afternoon when I received an e-mail from a group called “teamhint” that I found out my information had been part of the leak.
"Hint wanted to let you know that your email address and password that you used to signup for Gawker (or one of its sites) were hacked. Forbes' coverage is here. In situations like this, time is of the essence, which is why we were surprised & shocked to find that Gawker Media hadn't taken the initiative to notify you of this privacy breach immediately. We HIGHLY recommend you change all of your online passwords as a precaution.
-The Team at Hint.”
Apparently “Hint” was trying to be a white knight and who ever they are, that was a either an incredibly kind gesture, or a brilliant stroke of self-promotion (or both). They had found the Gawker leaks and then sent a notice like that to everyone who had been “compromised.”
Then a friend sent me a link to Gawker editor Adrian Chen's Twitter where I was able to find out in no unwavering terms that yes...my personal e-mail had been released along with a password. Ye Gads.
Then I went back to Gawker where one of the editors, Max Read answered everyone's questions about the leak. I asked a question, and he told me what to do to try to lock down my security. (Thanks, Max!)
So, I spent the afternoon/evening of December 13, 2010 not doing the following things: I didn't send out Christmas cards, I didn't bake Cheddar Parmesan crackers, and I didn't quietly hide in the back room to wrap my husbands Christmas present.
Instead, I changed all of my passwords on every site I frequent, double checked my credit card balances, and then I took a shower.