Bloomberg News

Twitter Warns Media to Expect More Hacking After AP Breach (1)

April 30, 2013

Twitter Inc. warned journalists to prepare for more cyber attacks following a breach of the account of the Associated Press news service 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 e-mail accounts, Twitter said in a memo to media. News organizations should designate one computer for Twitter use, reducing the chance of a malware infection from surfing the Web or checking e-mail.

Twitter’s defense against password theft came under scrutiny earlier this month after a hacker sent a false post about explosions at the White House last week, triggering a drop that wiped out $136 billion in value from the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Following a move by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to allow companies to share market-sensitive news via social media, the AP breach threatens Chief Executive Officer 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 organizations 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 News’ “60 Minutes.” The television program said earlier this month that its Twitter account was “compromised,” according to a posting on parent CBS Corp. (CBS:US)’s account on April 20. Some of National Public Radio’s Twitter accounts were hacked as well, the company said.

To bolster security, Twitter plans to introduce a mechanism called two-step 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 e-mail if possible, Twitter said. Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Milian in San Francisco at mmilian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


Silicon Valley State of Mind
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

Companies Mentioned

  • CBS
    (CBS Corp)
    • $60.43 USD
    • -0.31
    • -0.51%
Market data is delayed at least 15 minutes.
 
blog comments powered by Disqus