At the beginning of this weekend, Twitter Inc. announced that it had been hacked, in a big way. By its estimates, about 250,000 Twitter users may have had their private information such as user names, passwords, and email addresses exposed in the cyber attack.
In its blog, Twitter said that, as a precaution, they reset the passwords for those quarter million users who were potentially affected by the hack. They also said they would send affected users an email notification to update those passwords.
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It was clear from Twitter's assessment that this wasn't just a bunch of teen hackers getting together on an online forum to take a site down for laughs, but rather a result of several unauthorized, and sophisticated, attempts to access data held by the web service, data which are buried under cybersecuity measures.
"This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked," said Twitter Inc. in its blog.
There are a few concerns about Twitter's publicizing the security breach and, especially, what they're doing about it - asking users to wait for an email and then follow the links to reset their passwords.
"You have to be careful if you get hold of one of these emails because, of course, it could equally be a phishing attack - it could be someone pretending to be Twitter," said internet security specialist Graham Cluley to BBC News.
So who did it? Twitter's information security director Bob Lord has set off a lot of speculation when he mentioned the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times being cyber-attacked in his comments about Twitter's recent hack.
On Thursday of this week, The New York Times announced it had been hacked by Chinese hackers, using sophisticated techniques commonly associated with the Chinese military, after The New York Times published an unflattering story about departing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last year.