Changing Your Passwords
If you think you may have been affected by the hack, you can check your status with Slate and then learn how to rest your Gawker passwords here. Be sure to use different passwords for multiple web sites and change your passwords occasionally. You can learn about more 'best practices' for password security from Wikipedia, Symantec and Lifehacker, and view this list of overly-used passwords courtesy of the Huffington Post. Is a password you use on the list?
Use Single-Site Passwords
In our opinion at CartaNova, the key lesson from the Gawker hack is that you cannot completely trust any organization with your personal and/or login data.
Therefore, it is best to use different passwords for different web sites, both personally and professionally. Following the Gawker Media incident, the possibility of other databases and personal information being compromised is quite high. For example, LinkedIn is currently blocking the login of persons affected by Gawker's breach of security.
Open Source is Just As Safe
The second major security problem we want to identify is the structure of the Gawker platform itself, which is closed source. Open-Source Software tends to discover and respond to security problems quite well as there are many users who are able to view the code (source) of the software and identify risks. Comparatively, closed-source platforms like the Gawker CMS require users to simply trust the company in question, and users have no resource to do otherwise.
A few articles that may be of interest: this one on Canada's Privacy Comissioner, this one on lessons learned from the Gawker hack, and this L.A. Times story on the shrinking size of American cubicle space.
The economy has a tough one in 2009-10, and I have to believe that the increasingly marginalized personal privacy of North American citizens, combined with layoffs at major software companies like Yahoo, is going to contribute to more incidents like this one. More than anything we recommend getting off Facebook before there is a major personal data breach at that site, as there is quite a lot of sensitive information therein.