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The hack spilled over Monday to social networking site Twitter, where a rapidly proliferating spam message promoting bogus diet pills was said by Twitter executives to be linked to the Gawker attack.

“It appears users were using the same password on both sites,” said Twitter’s chief of trust and safety, Del Harvey.

Spammers were able to hack into Twitter users’ accounts employing the passwords posted by Gnosis and then used the compromised account to spread their messages.

The spill-over highlighted the danger that the Gawker breach might proliferate to other sites.

Although registered users of a media site do not typically store sensitive personal information on their accounts, the hackers pointed out that many Gawker staff, including Mr. Denton, used the same password for multiple e-mail and other accounts and speculated that registered users might do the same.

The Twitter spam attack suggests they were correct, and that the ripples of the Gawker hack may spread further in coming days. Attacks “may well spread beyond Twitter, as hackers [attempt to access] the social networking, Web-based e-mail and even corporate accounts of registered Gawker users, counting on the fact that the account owner may have reused their Gawker password,” said Paul Roberts of computer security firm Kaspersky Labs. “That’s a good bet, statistics show,” he added.

Aside from generalized anomie, the group’s motive for the attack appears to be linked to a series of stories the Gawker site ran in July about griefer attacks on an 11-year old girl, after a video of her crying while her father berated people who had been bullying her online went viral.

The girl’s real name, home address and telephone number were circulated online and the family got abusive and prank phone calls.

Gawker ran articles attacking the griefers, and then, when some of them attempted Internet attacks on the Gawker site, mocked the attackers, calling them “sad.”