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Gawker's Hack, Spammers' Treasure

by @ 11:40 pm
Filed under: hacking — Tags: , ,

Today, out of curiosity, I downloaded the hacked Gawker files from The Pirate Bay. I'm not sure if I broke any laws by doing that, but I was only interested in checking out their PHP source files. You can learn a lot by looking at production code other than your own.

While my intentions were harmless, I'm sure many others downloaded the files for more sinister purposes. I was blown away by the size and scope of the membership file dumps. There are thousands and thousands of records of login name, passwords and emails. One of the first things the bad guys will do is to try breaking into the members' bank accounts, email accounts, and Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and eBay accounts since many tend to use the same password everywhere online.

I hope people change their passwords quickly enough to mitigate the damage from the criminals, but there is one damage that will be hard to contain, and that is the sheer number of valid emails that spammers will promptly exploit.

Granted, most emails appear to mysteriously land in spammers' databases almost as soon as they're created. Nevertheless, even those users who guard their emails tooth and nail, had better be ready. If they had a Gawker account, they will be getting valuable offers from a number of spammers real soon.

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