How to check if your password was exposed in Gawker hack

Researcher HD Moore spells out how to see what accounts were among 1.3M accessed by hackers

A security researcher today provided a way for users to see whether their e-mail addresses and passwords were among the 1.3 million compromised in a hack of Gawker Media's sites.

HD Moore, chief security officer at Rapid7 and the creator of the open-source Metasploit penetration-testing toolkit, came up with a down-and-dirty way for users to search the list of purloined account information without having to download the 487MB file from the Internet.

On Sunday, Gawker, which operates several popular technology sites, including Gizmodo and Lifehacker, confirmed that its servers had been hacked , and that hundreds of thousands of registered users' e-mail addresses and passwords had been accessed. A group calling itself "Gnosis" claimed credit for the attack, and said it had obtained more than 1.3 million accounts.

Gawker apologized for the breach, and urged users to change their passwords. If that password was used for accessing other sites, Gawker recommended that users change it for those destinations as well.

"It's best to assume that your username and password were included among the leaked data," Gawker said in an FAQ it posted on the Lifehacker site.

Moore had a better idea, and has assembled a way for people to check whether their account, including their password, has been compromised.

In an e-mail to Computerworld Monday, Moore spelled out the technique:

Step 1: Go to http://pajhome.org.uk/crypt/md5/ , enter an e-mail address in the 'Input' field, click the 'MD5' button, then copy the hash from the 'Result' field.

Step 2: Go to http://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?dsrcid=350662 , click 'Show Options,' then paste the already-obtained hash in the field to the right of the '=' symbol. Change the left-most field to 'MD5.' Click 'Apply.'

If the e-mail address is among those compromised, the search will show a result.

Although Gawker said it encrypted users' passwords, some passwords have already been decrypted by Gnosis.

Moore used MD5 hashes of the e-mail addresses in the list he posted as a Google Fusion Table so users could check whether their accounts had been compromised without exposing the addresses a second time.

"This is a little clunky, but [it] works," he said.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com .

Read more about security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?