The LiveJournal Web log service has been forced to change the way it hosts user accounts because of a browser side security vulnerability, the company confirmed Friday. This vulnerability reportedly had been exploited by a hacking group in order to steal user information and allow the hackers to gain access to more than 900,000 LiveJournal accounts.
The changes were announced Thursday on the LiveJournal News Journal (http://news.livejournal.com/90556.html). "Recent changes to a popular browser have enabled malicious users to potentially gain control of your account," a company representative wrote. "As soon as we heard about it, we began implementing changes to protect your account." LiveJournal is owned by Six Apart Ltd., makers of the Movable Type blogging software.
A Six Apart spokeswoman would not confirm that accounts had actually been compromised, but on Friday The Washington Post quoted members of a hacker group known as Bantown who said they had taken over more than 900,000 LiveJournal accounts (http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2006/01/account_hijacki.html) .
Six Apart said it has nearly 2 million active LiveJournal users, and more than 9 million registered accounts, so if the Bantown claims are true, a significant proportion of LiveJournal users have had their accounts compromised.
According to Six Apart spokeswoman Jane Anderson, further comment on the matter would only serve as publicity for Bantown. "Clearly we cherish the safety of our members, and we want to keep them updated and informed without helping hackers with what they're going to do," she said.
Six Apart is continuing to make security changes to the LiveJournal site and hopes to complete this process on Friday, Anderson said, without elaborating on what further changes are being made.
"We'll post to our development journal with more in-depth details about these changes," the Thursday announcement stated.