Twitter’s tech systems breached by hacker

A very serious breach of security for the popular social network, as an intruder breaks into its systems and potentially has access to everybody’s Twitter account.

Someone has managed to hack into Twitter's private technical systems, resulting in the accounts of several high-profile individuals being compromised and defaced, including Barack Obama and Britney Spears.

Twitter discovered that 33 accounts had been hacked using tools that the Twitter support team uses, which helps people with tasks such as editing the email address associated with their Twitter account when they forget it.

This is different to the phishing attacks which affected a number of users (including Stephen Fry) at the weekend, because rather than taking over accounts using phished usernames and passwords, this was an attack on Twitter's own systems.

It is still unclear whether this was the work of an external hacker or a Twitter employee. This attack was much more serious than the phishing scam, as the internal hack exposed everybody's Twitter account to hacking or defacement.

On the Twitter blog co-founder Biz Stone said: "We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We'll put them back only when they're safe and secure."

Twitter planned to release a closed beta of the open authentication protocol OAuth this month, which would allow secure API (Application Programming Interface) authorisation.

However, Twitter said that it was important to note that OAuth would not have prevented a phishing scam, nor would it have prevented accounts from being compromised. Instead OAuth is for those who use third party applications built on the Twitter API to access their data while protecting their account credentials.

The security breach and phishing attacks come at a bad time, with Twitter potentially being the next break-out social network. Late last year talks with Facebook about a potential takeover deal fell through.

Featured Resources

Humility in AI: Building trustworthy and ethical AI systems

How humble AI can help safeguard your business

Download now

Future of video conferencing

Optimising video conferencing features to achieve business goals

Download now

Leadership compass: Privileged Access Management

Securing privileged accounts in a high-risk environment

Download now

Why you need to include the cloud in your disaster recovery plan

Preserving data for business success

Download now

Recommended

DocuShare flaws could lead to data leakage unless you install these patches
vulnerability

DocuShare flaws could lead to data leakage unless you install these patches

4 Dec 2020
Ransomware attack paralyzes Vancouver public transportation agency
ransomware

Ransomware attack paralyzes Vancouver public transportation agency

4 Dec 2020
US department store Kmart hit by Egregor ransomware
ransomware

US department store Kmart hit by Egregor ransomware

4 Dec 2020
Businesses told to guard against PowerPepper Windows exploit
malware

Businesses told to guard against PowerPepper Windows exploit

4 Dec 2020

Most Popular

Samsung Galaxy Note might be discontinued in 2021
Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy Note might be discontinued in 2021

1 Dec 2020
Black Friday's best antivirus deals
Security

Black Friday's best antivirus deals

27 Nov 2020
Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud
Security

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud

18 Nov 2020