The website of Skeptical Science, a blog that is critical of climate change skeptics, was hacked over the weekend, and users’ e-mails, passwords and IP addresses were taken, according to a post on the site Sunday.
The bulk of the site’s database was taken, uploaded to a Russian website and linked to across the Internet, said the post.
Created in 2007 by Australian author John Cook, Skeptical Science collects peer-reviewed scientific research relating to climate change. Now translated in 21 different languages, the site has evolved into leading source of criticism of global warming skeptics. The so-called ‘climate crusaders’ who frequent the site are a contentious bunch and not averse to critical comments.
While users’ passwords were encrypted by default, Cook wrote that he wasn’t certain whether the hacker had been able to successfully decrypt them. Users of the site are being encouraged to update their passwords, as a “safeguard.”
In the meantime, Skeptical Science claims it’s working on better fortifying its site and has sought legal advice on the data leak.
The incident harkens back to 2009’s “Climategate,” a controversy that erupted in 2009 following the hack (.PDF) of a server at the University of East Anglia’s (UAE) Climatic Research Unit. The hack leaked more than 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents relating to climate research that November.
That breach led to months of speculation over whether information leaked about global warming was fabricated or if it was just simply taken out of context. Eight separate reviews of the allegations failed to find any evidence of scientific misconduct. However, last November, two years after the hack, 5,000 more e-mails, also allegedly from the UAE, were posted to a Russian server, reigniting the debate between scientists and their critics.