A Russian hacker group has claimed responsibility for breaking into the servers of a U.S. technology news website and stealing its registered readers' data, but said that its goal was only to improve Internet security and get attention, the news site reported.
In a series of Twitter messages between a group calling itself WOrm and the website CNET, a spokesperson for the supposed hackers said the group stole the database — which includes usernames, emails and encrypted passwords for more than a million users — was a ploy for attention, "nothing more," CNET reported Monday.
Another tweet by W0rm said the group was "driven to make the Internet a better and safer [place] rather than a desire to protect copyright," the news site reported.
A spokeswoman for CNET's parent company, CBS Interactive, confirmed that "a few servers were accessed," but that the company spotted and resolved the problem "a few days ago," the report said.
WOrm had tweeted Monday that the group would sell the database for a symbolic price of 1 bitcoin (about $622), but later said that it would not complete the sale or decrypt the passwords, CNET reported.
A web security analyst at White Hat Security, Robert Hansen, said that while "it can definitely feel like a slap in the face to an organization to be hacked," little damage appeared to have been done and the episode may turn out to be a "good thing," CNET reported.
"W0rm was careful not to give the full path to the actual exploit and informed the general public that the compromise occurred," Hansen said.