The Inquirer-Home

Hackers targeted high-profile Twitter users in attack

Big names and early adopters snared
Wed Feb 06 2013, 08:35

A LIST of high profile Twitter accounts that had their passwords stolen in a security breach includes US president Barack Obama.

The recent Twitter security breach might have compromised a small percentage of the social network's accounts but analysis shows that some high profile accounts were compromised, including those of US president Obama and vice president Joe Biden. Peer Reach's analysis reported that many news organisations such as the BBC, New York Times, Guardian, Reuters and CNN found that their Twitter passwords had been stolen.

Twitter's security breach, which led to 250,000 encrypted passwords being stolen, saw users being sent emails asking them to change passwords. Even though 250,000 accounts is a small percentage of Twitter's overall account base, Peer Reach's statistics suggest accounts that matched a certain profile were targeted, including numerous journalist accounts and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey among the victims.

Peer Reach claimed that the profile was Twitter early adopters, an explanation borne out by looking at some of the two and three character user names. The firm said that the accounts affected had joined the social network before 15 June 2007.

While Twitter passwords were encrypted, given enough time even strong encryption can be cracked, and it is highly likely that passwords might be reused elsewhere. Of course it is highly unlikely that president Obama, or rather his interns, used the same password for his Twitter account as he did for other electronic devices, but the point is that for many people who use the same passwords for many services it could be hard to remember which passwords to change. µ


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