In a blog post last Friday, Twitter’s Director of Information Security Bob Lord, said the company had discovered a major attack and shut it down almost immediately, but the attackers may have had access to user names, email addresses, session tokens and passwords for approximately 250,000 users.
Lord said that Twitter detected unusual access patterns that led to it identifying unauthorised access attempts to Twitter user data.
“We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to Twitter.
Though only a very small percentage of our users were potentially affected by this attack, we encourage all users to take this opportunity to ensure that they are following good password hygiene, on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet. Make sure you use a strong password – at least ten (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – that you are not using for any other accounts or sites.
Using the same password for multiple online accounts significantly increases your odds of being compromised. If you are not using good password hygiene, take a moment now to change your Twitter passwords. We also echo the advisory from the US Department of Homeland Security and security experts to encourage users to disable Java on their computers in their browsers”.
The attack follows hacks into a number of major media outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Unnamed sources quoted by the newspapers say they suspect Chinese hackers, possibly associated with the Chinese government, to be involved.
Twitter have not mention that how hackers were able to infiltrate Twitter’s systems, but Twitter’s blog post alluded that hackers had broken in through a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java software.