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Gawker

  1. Gawker Reintroduces Pending Comment System on Jezebel To Address Onslaught of Harrassment

    Last week, Jezebel published a lengthy open letter about their recent battles with anonymous trolls who were empowered by the site's Kinja comment system to leave upsetting images of violent pornography on posts, and parent company Gawker Media's refusal to take the matter seriously. Today, the site announced that their pleas have finally been addressed.

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  2. Nobody’s Winning This One: Redditors Ban Gawker Links to Protect Free Speech

    The Internet is typically not a fan of "doxxing," where folks turn up as much personal information as they can find on a person that's been made available to the public for various reasons. Adrian Chen, a staff writer for Gawker, was apparently looking to do an exposé on the user Violentacrez of /r/creepshots and /r/jailbait fame, and has supposedly found the user's name and other details. Due to their plan to name and shame the user, several subreddits have now banned links to Gawker content.

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  3. Awesome Eight-Year-Olds Publish Bee Study in Legit Scientific Journal

    This is both adorable and encouraging: A group of eight- to ten-year-olds in England wrote and published a journal article in the very legit "high-powered" scientific journal Biology Letters. According to an excerpt from the article's abstract, the study covers "whether bees could learn to use the spatial relationships between colours to figure out which flowers [to visit]." With the exception of the abstract, the kids wrote the entire article themselves. What have our kids been doing lately? The 25 kids, who attend Blackawton Primary School in Devon, England, conducted the study through the educational science program, "i, scientist," which encourages children to conduct their own scientific research and is overseen by the kids' head teacher, David Strudwick, and neuroscientist Beau Lotto, whose son, Misha participated in the study. (There's a half-hour video about the program here.) The kids are officially "the youngest scientists to publish an article in a Royal Society journal."

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  4. The Gawker Hack and Web Security: The Gnosis Hackers Respond

    This past weekend, Gawker Media was dealt a damaging blow when a group that calls itself Gnosis successfully hacked into Gawker's servers and thereafter released a torrent which contained Gawker's source code and a database containing 1.3 million Gawker commenters' usernames, e-mail addresses, and passwords, about a fifth of which Gnosis decrypted. Considering that many people use the same password for multiple web services, this is bad news; this morning, Twitter said that a wave of acai-related spam had been traced to accounts with emails hit by the Gawker leak. Gnosis also gained access to Gawker's content management system, publishing a taunting post with a link to the torrent on Pirate Bay. (Both the Gawker post and that particular Pirate Bay torrent have since been removed, although the data is out there now.) In the wake of the attack, Gawker has promised to "[bring] in an independent security firm to improve security across our entire infrastructure. Additionally, we will continue to work with independent auditors to ensure we maintain a reliable level of security, as well as the processes necessary to ensure we maintain a safe environment for our commenters." However, the attack has alarmed many of its readers, and should be alarming to most people who have transmitted their personal information over the Web. Perhaps even more alarming than the user database hack is the source code leak: Gawker is built on a proprietary, closed-source framework, which its proprietor Nick Denton says 'underpins his entire empire to this day.' Blogger Felix Salmon writes that Gawker Media is in the process of trying to transform into a technology company; this is a hard thing to do when your source code is thoroughly compromised. Geekosystem got in touch with members of Gnosis and discussed what the attacks meant for Gawker Media, web publishers, and everyone who shares unsecured information on the Internet:

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  5. Twitter Flooded with Acai Spam Following Gawker Hack

    In case you missed it, this past weekend, a group called Gnosis managed to hack into Gawker Media's commenter database, gaining the email addresses and passwords for more than one million commenters across Gawker blogs including Gawker, Gizmodo, io9, Kotaku, and Lifehacker. Gnosis subsequently released the data dump as a torrent, with roughly one fifth of passwords decrypted and the remainder available encrypted for the rest of the Internet to crack. The most alarming ramification of this is that since many people use the same password for multiple online services, people who have commented on Gawker sites could potentially have the security of their social media accounts, bank accounts, and more compromised following the hack. Gnosis wrote that "Included in the dump are passwords linked to accounts from Nasa, about every .gov domain you could imagine and hundreds from banks. One can only pray that they do not use the same password everywhere." As such, if you've ever commented on a Gawker Media site using a means other than Facebook Connect [as the information of Facebook Connect users was not stored in Gawker's databases], you are advised to change your password on other sites, but not yet on Gawker until it's been verified that their database is secure. One early sign of the potentially far-reaching consequences of the Gawker hack is a nasty wave of acai-related spam which has swept Twitter this morning. Mashable reports that "this is one of the fastest-spreading attacks we’ve ever seen in our years tracking Twitter security and worms." 

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  6. Harry Potter Condoms

    Warner Brothers, the media behemoth that owns the rights to the Harry Potter movie franchise, is reportedly in the midst of fighting a legal battle against a Swiss company for copyright infringement. What did these neutral, chocolate-loving, particle-accelerating people do to earn their ire? Why, they simply created a line of condoms which prominently feature a cartoon likeness of Harry Potter.

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  7. Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen’s House Raided by Police in iPhone Leak Aftermath

    Well, this gives the lie to the theory that Gizmodo's bombshell article about the leaked iPhone 4G a. was an Apple plant and b. would have no legal repercussions. Jason Chen, the Gizmodo editor who authored the piece and took apart the iPhone, which the site claims to have paid $5000 for after an Apple engineer supposedly lost it at a bar, had his house raided by California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, who he says seized four of his computers and two servers, made him stand outside of his own house with his hands on his head, and tried to dredge up the source of the leaked iPhone.

    The question is: Will Chen get the legal protection afforded to journalists, whose property cannot be confiscated by search warrant, or are bloggers unprotected?

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  8. Conan O’Brien’s Twitter Pal Sarah Killen Makes Her Big Debut (w/ Video)

    19-year-old Sarah Killen has become America's most beloved celebrity-for-no-reason since Levi Johnston and this time, the love isn't ironic. Killen, whose life changed dramatically when a bored, unemployed Conan O'Brien decided to follow her on Twitter at random, has been making the internet media rounds since last Friday, answering questions about her wedding, her newfound fame, and all the freebies that came with it. Today she made the jump from the web to national television. Video after the jump:

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