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

BCDR buyer's guide for MSPs

How to choose a business continuity and disaster recovery solution

Download now

The definitive guide to IT security

Protecting your MSP and your customers

Download now

Cost of a data breach report 2020

Find out what factors help mitigate breach costs

Download now

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Recommended

Defense Dept. expands vulnerability disclosure program to all publicly accessible defense systems
ethical hacking

Defense Dept. expands vulnerability disclosure program to all publicly accessible defense systems

5 May 2021
Security researchers take control of a Tesla via drone
ethical hacking

Security researchers take control of a Tesla via drone

5 May 2021
Best free malware removal tools 2021
Security

Best free malware removal tools 2021

5 May 2021
Acuant acquires identity verification provider Hello Soda
mergers and acquisitions

Acuant acquires identity verification provider Hello Soda

4 May 2021

Most Popular

Dell patches vulnerability affecting hundreds of computer models worldwide
cyber security

Dell patches vulnerability affecting hundreds of computer models worldwide

5 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021