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Twitter ‘Accidentally Changes Users’ Passwords’

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Emails were sent out mistakenly telling Twitter users to change their passwords

Thousands of Twitter users were left puzzled today after the company mistakenly sent out emails telling them their accounts were at risk.

Emails sent out by Twitter told users that their accounts had been ‘compromised’, and that they should change their passwords in order to minimise any potential damage.

The company blamed a ‘system error’ for the messages, and has not said how many users had been affected, but apologised for the inconvenience in a further email sent to those originally contacted, adding that users who received the original message should still reset their details as a precaution.

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Affected users received an email stating that, “Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter” and that “We’ve reset your password to prevent accessing your account.”

The company suffered an actual breach last year, with the passwords of 250,000 users being stolen alongside usernames, emails and other data, prompting the company to send out similar emails.

The incident is the latest in a line of worrying shortcomings for Twitter, which has taken several steps recently in order to beef up its security measures. Last August, a hacker leaked the details of over 15,000 Twitter accounts, which had apparently been stored by third-party applications.

Twitter accounts have also become a popular choice of target for activist organisations such as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) as they seek to raise awareness of their cause. Several major organisations have seen their accounts compromised recently, including Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, CNN, and the Guardian, which all saw the SEA post mocking or provocative messages on their timelines after their accounts were hacked.

Earlier this month, Twitter posted its first earnings report since it went public last November, showing improving financials but slowing growth in the company’s user base. The company revealed it has 241 million monthly active users, with 48 billion views of Twitter timelines recorded in the last three months. The huge amount of mobile traffic may leave the service and its users open to attack however, as many customers own unsecured devices which could be hit by malicious attacks.

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