Twitter says hackers compromise 250K accounts - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Twitter says hackers compromise 250K accounts

Updated:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Twitter confirmed Friday that it had become the latest victim in a number of high-profile cyber-attacks against media companies, saying that hackers may have gained access to information on 250,000 of its more than 200 million active users.

The social media giant said in a blog posting that earlier this week it detected attempts to gain access to its user data. It shut down one attack moments after it was detected.

But it discovered that the attackers may have stolen user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords belonging to 250,000 users. Twitter reset the pilfered passwords and sent emails advising affected users.

The online attack comes on the heels of recent hacks into the computer systems of U.S. media and technology companies, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both American newspapers reported this week that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, likely to monitor media coverage the Chinese government deems important.

China has been accused of mounting a widespread, aggressive cyber-spying campaign for several years, trying to steal classified information and corporate secrets and to intimidate critics. The Chinese foreign ministry could not be reached for comment Saturday, but the Chinese government has said those accusations are baseless and that China itself is a victim of cyber-attacks.

"Chinese law forbids hacking and any other actions that damage Internet security," the Chinese Defense Ministry recently said. "The Chinese military has never supported any hacking activities."

Although Bob Lord, Twitter's director of information security said in the blog that the attack "was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident."

"The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked," Lord said. "For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize 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."

One expert said that the Twitter hack probably happened after an employee's home or work computer was compromised through vulnerabilities in Java, a commonly used computing language whose weaknesses have been well publicized.

Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy and security researcher, said such a move would give attackers "a toehold" in Twitter's internal network, potentially allowing them either to sniff out user information as it traveled across the company's system or break into specific areas, such as the authentication servers that process users' passwords.

In a telephone interview Friday, Soltani said that the relatively small number of users affected suggested either that attackers weren't on the network long or that they were only able to compromise a subset of the company's servers.

Twitter is generally used to broadcast messages to the public, so the hacking might not immediately have yielded any important secrets. But the stolen credentials could be used to eavesdrop on private messages or track which Internet address a user is posting from.

That might be useful, for example, for an authoritarian regime trying to keep tabs on a journalist's movements.

"More realistically, someone could use that as an entry point into another service," Soltani said, noting that since few people bother using different passwords for different services, a password stolen from Twitter might be just as handy for reading a journalist's emails.

___

AP reporters Raphael Satter in London and Didi Tang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:11:09 GMT
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
  • Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:10:21 GMT
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
  • Drone delays landing of Ohio hospital chopper

    Drone delays landing of Ohio hospital chopper

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:08:46 GMT
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Officials at a southwest Ohio hospital say a drone flying near the building delayed the landing of an emergency medical helicopter for nine minutes. The health of the patient aboard the helicopter trying to land at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton wasn't compromised, but an official says the man flying the drone violated an FAA guideline that the operator must be at least 400 feet away from a hospital. Dayton Daily News reports that the Monday incident highlights the need ...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Officials at a southwest Ohio hospital say a drone flying near the building delayed the landing of an emergency medical helicopter for nine minutes. The health of the patient aboard the helicopter trying to land at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton wasn't compromised, but an official says the man flying the drone violated an FAA guideline that the operator must be at least 400 feet away from a hospital. Dayton Daily News reports that the Monday incident highlights the need ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms