A quarter of a million Twitter accounts hacked

This has certainly been a week where cyber infiltration hacked the headlines. First up was Anonymous who hacked the federal sentencing department to avenge the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz. Next up, the New York Times blamed the Chinese government for a hack on their mainframe to apparently avenge a story about departing premier Wen Jibao’s relatives’ lavish wealth. And now, a quarter of a million Twitter users have had their accounts hacked.

Twitter's information security director Bob Lord said about 250,000 users' passwords had been stolen, as well as usernames, emails and other data. The very nature of Twitter as a well of secrets and profound thinking does beg the question – will the hackers try and put it back when they realise how mind numbingly banal it all is? Will reading all that drivel be punishment enough?

Affected users have had passwords blocked as a flood of emails were sent out asking users to set new ones. This was just as security experts advised users to be careful about emails apparently from the micro blogging company and not enter any personal information as they may be a new scam. No paradox there then.

Apparently though – the most sensible course of action is to ignore any emails and try to log into Twitter as usual and if needed – change your password there and then.

Mr Lord said in a blog post Twitter had discovered unauthorised attempts to access data held by the website, including one attack that was identified and stopped moments after it was detected.

"This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident," he wrote. He added "The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organisations have also been recently similarly attacked."

"For that reason we felt that it was important to publicise this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the internet safer for all users."

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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