Feeds

Gawker tech boss admits site security was crap

'We lost your trust and don't deserve it back'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Gawker Media plans to overhaul its web infrastructure and require employees to use two-factor authentication when accessing sensitive documents stored online, following an embarrassing attack that completely rooted the publisher's servers.

The publisher of Gawker, Gizmodo, and seven other popular websites also plans to, gasp, mandate the use of secure sockets layer encryption for all users with Gawker Media accounts on Google Apps, according to a memo written by Gawker tech boss Tom Plunkett and published Friday by The Next Web. The company-wide message conceded a point first made by the perpetrators of the hack: That Gawker Media's security was utter crap.

“It is clear that the Gawker tech team did not adequately secure our platform from an attack of this nature,” Plunkett wrote. “We were also not prepared to respond when it was necessary.”

Indeed, security researchers who examined the web platform's source code were amazed as just how poorly the site was put together.

“Having looked at the Gawker PHP source, I'm shocked it hasn't happened sooner,” Mike Bailey, who specializes in web-application security recently tweeted. “Test code all over the place, bugs galore.”

“Gonna go ahead and make a prediction: Nothing short of a full site rewrite is going to keep Gawker online at this point,” he said in another message.

Another amateur goof was the use of DES, or Data Encryption Standard, to protect some 1.5 million account passwords despite long-known weakness in the hashing algorithm. As a result, the attackers were able to retrieve the first eight characters of plaintext for each one.

Plunkett also laid out plans for disposable reader accounts that could be dumped at any time and said that the publisher would no longer store email addresses and other reader data.

“On all of our sites, we will be introducing several new features to our commenting system to acknowledge the reality that we have lost the commenters' trust and don't deserve it back,” he wrote. “We should not be in the business of collecting and storing personal information, and our objective is to migrate our platform away from any personal data dependencies (like email & password). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.