One of the big news stories last week was the hacking of Gawker Media’s servers. As part of the attack, user accounts were compromised on Gawker sites, including Lifehacker and Gizmodo. More than 500,000 user emails and 185,000 decrypted passwords were posted online. If you’re not sure which account you used on a Gawker site, and want to determine if your account might have been compromised, there’s a tool for that.
Slate has created a widget that lets you input your username or email address to see if your account was hacked. All that you need to do is input your username or email address that you used on a Gawker site, and hit the “Check” button. You’ll get one of two messages back:
1. “Your account data has been released. If your account had a password, it has also been released in an encrypted form. Change it.”
2. “The e-mail account or user name does not appear to be in the released database.”
If you get the first message, you should not only change your Gawker password, but if you used that email/password combination on any other sites, you should change your password on those sites, too.
To avoid a problem like this in the future, make sure that you use unique passwords on all sites. Check out one of our favorite tools, LastPass, for an easy way to generate and remember all of those passwords.
Does a hack like this make you trust Gawker sites less? Or trust the Internet less? Our take: this could happen to any site out there. Protect yourself by using unique passwords on all sites.