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Twitter warns media to expect more hacking

Mark Milian (via SMH) | May 3, 2013
Twitter has warned journalists to prepare for more cyber attacks following a recent breach of the Associated Press account that triggered a stock market decline.

Twitter: Susceptible to hacks.

Twitter: Susceptible to hacks. Photo: Getty Images

 

Twitter has warned journalists to prepare for more cyber attacks following a recent breach of the Associated Press account that triggered a stock market decline.

Members of the press should change passwords to make them randomly-generated strings of text or words - and different from their login to access email accounts, Twitter said in a memo to media. News organisations should designate one computer for Twitter use, reducing the chance of a malware infection from surfing the web or checking email.

Twitter's defence against password theft came under scrutiny earlier this month after a hacker sent a false post about explosions at the White House, triggering a drop that wiped out $US136 billion in value from the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Following a move by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to allow companies to share market-sensitive news via social media, the AP breach threatens chief executive Dick Costolo's ability to establish Twitter as a trusted source of information ahead of a possible initial public offering.

"There have been several recent incidents of high-profile news and media Twitter handles being compromised," Twitter said in the memo. "We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organisations will continue to be high value targets to hackers."

The false information from the AP account, which said there were explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama had been injured, came after repeated attempts by hackers to access to AP reporters' passwords, the news agency said.

Latest victim

AP was the latest victim in a series of hacking cases against news outlets, including the Twitter accounts of CBS 60 Minutes. The television program said earlier this month that its Twitter account was "compromised", according to a posting on CBS's account on April 20. Some of National Public Radio's Twitter accounts were hacked as well, the company said.

Other recent hacking cases of media organisations and public figures include The GuardianBBCAgence France-Presse and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

To bolster security, Twitter plans to introduce a mechanism called two-factor authentication, a person familiar with the matter said last week. In addition to a password, the security measure usually requires a code to be sent as a text message to a user's mobile phone, or generated on a device or in software.

Journalists should use two-factor authentication to access email if possible, Twitter said. Facebook, Google and Yahoo are among the companies that currently offer the option for accessing their online services.

Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Twitter, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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