Twitter warns attacks will continue

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It seems to be an almost daily occurrence in the news that high profile twitter feeds are being hijacked with nonsense tweets. Just today (30th April) the Guardian’s twitter account has been hacked by pro-Syria supporters criticising the US for supporting “terrorist” rebels.

In the light of these attacks, twitter has sent out an email to large profiles to warn them of the hijacking and how to protect their accounts. The majority of the email was rather obvious for any given website which is to have a strong password which is changed frequently, keeping email accounts secure and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.

The email goes on to warning about phishing sites used by the hackers, similar to those seen for bank accounts and you should ensure the address is twitter.com and not clicked through from a link. One such suggestion seems a little far fetched which is to have a computer dedicated to just twitter usage – “Don’t use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection.” Not quite sure that will go down too well.

If having a dedicated twitter computer isn’t on the top of your shopping list Twitter are working on a two-step authentication login system to prevent these  hijacks.

Here is the full email:

Please help us keep your accounts secure. There have been severalrecent incidents of high-profile news and media Twitter handles being compromised. We believe that these attacks will continue, and that
news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to

What to be aware of:

These incidents appear to be spear phishing attacks that target your
corporate email. Promoting individual awareness of these attacks
within your organization and following the security guidelines below
is vital to preventing abuse of your Twitter accounts.
Take these steps right now:

Change your Twitter account passwords. Never send passwords via
e-mail, even internally. Ensure that passwords are strong- at least 20
characters long. Use either randomly-generated passwords (like
“LauH6maicaza1Neez3zi”) or a random string of words (like “hewn cloths
titles yachts refine”).

Keep your email accounts secure. Twitter uses email for password
resets and official communication. If your email provider supports
two-factor authentication, enable it. Change your e-mail passwords,
and use a password different from your Twitter account password.

Review your authorized applications. Log in to Twitter and review the
applications authorized to access your accounts. If you don’t
recognize any of the applications, contact us immediately by emailing

Help us protect you. We’re working to make sure we have the most
updated information on our partners’ accounts. Please send us a
complete list of all accounts affiliated with your organization, so
that we can help keep them protected.

Build a plan. Create a formal incident response plan. If you suspect
your organization is being targeted by a phishing campaign or has been
compromised by a phishing attack, enact the plan.

Contact us immediately at ______@twitter.com with the word “Hacking”
in the subject. Include copies of suspected phishing emails.

If you lose access to an account, file a Support ticket and email the
ticket number to ______@twitter.com.

Moving Forward:

Review our security guidelines to help make sure your accounts are as
secure as possible.

Talk with your security team about ensuring that your corporate email
system is as safe as possible. A third-party provider that allows for
two-factor authentication might be a safer solution.

Strong security practices will reduce your vulnerability to phishing.
Consider the following suggestions:

Designate one computer to use for Twitter. This helps keep your
Twitter password from being spread around. Don’t use this computer to
read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware

Minimize the number of people that have access. Even if you use a
third-party platform to avoid sharing the actual Twitter account
password, each of these people is a possible avenue for phishing or
other compromise.

Check for signs of compromise. Checking your email address and
authorized apps weekly or monthly can help detect unauthorized access
and address the problem before access is abused.

Double-check the email address associated with your Twitter accounts:

Review the apps authorized to access your accounts:

Change your password regularly. Changing your Twitter password
quarterly or yearly can reset the clock if a password has leaked.

Using a Password Manager integrated into your browser can help prevent
successful phishing attacks.

Third-party solutions such as 1Password or LastPass, as well as the
browser’s built-in password manager, will only auto-fill passwords on
the correct website. If the password manager does not auto-fill, this
might indicate a phishing attempt.

Password managers make it much easier to use a very strong password.
Very difficult passwords will discourage memorization, which will
greatly reduce the chances of being phished.

Be certain to set a master password, since otherwise passwords may be
stored unprotected.
Don’t hesitate to email us if you need assistance.