Twitter Hacked


The big news today for Twitter users is that there has been a major hacking attempt that may have seen around a quarter of a million accounts exposed.

This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users. – Twitter Blog

Twitter realised that the hack would take more than 140 characters to explain, so they took to their blog to let us know that we needed to change passwords. I use the word ‘we’ because I was one of those 250 000 people that had their accounts compromised.

I must admit that when I got the email I was a little hesitant to follow the link they supplied to reset my password. Similar emails have been the way phishing scams have worked for years. This one looked real but just in case I tried to access Twitter only to find that I couldn’t log in. I then used the ‘Lost Password’ feature in Twitter to do my reset instead of following the link, just in case.

I’ll admit that I was pretty pleased with the way that Twitter moved swiftly to ensure the safety of their users. As well as dealing with the direct threat, they’ve given some helpful keys to ensuring safety online. Whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook or any other kind of online service, their advice is work checking out.

Though only a very small percentage of our users were potentially affected by this attack, we encourage all users to take this opportunity to ensure that they are following good password hygiene, on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet. Make sure you use a strong password – at least 10 (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – that you are not using for any other accounts or sites. Using the same password for multiple online accounts significantly increases your odds of being compromised. If you are not using good password hygiene, take a moment now to change your Twitter passwords. For more information about making your Twitter and other Internet accounts more secure, read our Help Center documentation or the FTC’s guide on passwords. – Twitter Blog

If you’re looking for a great way to create and manage secure passwords, I’d advise you to check out LastPass. I’ve found using LastPass to be easy, safe and helpful.

The LastPass team believes your online experience can be easier, faster and safer. Collectively we lose more than 10,300 hours per year retrieving lost passwords, making new ones or talking to call center representatives about them. And it gets much worse if a password is stolen and misused. We go online to connect with people, explore, shop and learn. We certainly don’t go online to fuss with passwords or risk our privacy, personal or financial information. Designed by web enthusiasts and skilled application developers, LastPass was created to make the online experience easier and safer for everyone.

By the way, if you’re not already following me on Twitter, you’ll find me here.

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Is Your Password Secure?

How secure is your online life? Are your passwords easy to hack? Are you using a password that could be easily guessed or discovered?

Even having a great password is no guarantee of security if you leave copies of your passwords near your computer. If someone was in your home or office would they find it fairly easy to discover your passwords? Do you use the old hiding spots of under the keyboard or under your desk?

SplashData, a well-known provider of password management applications. has revealed its 25 worst passwords for 2011 with their article, When “Most Popular” Isn’t A Good Thing: Worst Passwords of the Year – And How to Fix Them.

The top five are all fairly simple passswords which would prove no match for even the most basic online hackers.


The rest of the passwords on the list are fairly simple with people expecting passwords like ‘iloveyou’ and ‘trustno1’ to offer them some security. It’s worth checking out the original list to see if any of your passwords are featured. If they are, change them right away. (We should all be changing our passwords regularly any way.)

On Wednesday during my Morning Café radio program on 98.5 Sonshine FM I chatted with our technology expert, David Cook. We discussed passwords and looked at the best ways to create good passwords or passphrases. If you want to stay safe online you can listen to our chat by clicking the play button on the audio player below.


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Fixing Facebook

We seem to be hearing more and more about online privacy concerns recently. I’m glad that many people are starting to take the matter seriously. In general, we’ve been far too laid back in our attitudes to what is posted online and what we make availabel for the world to see. I recently asked Are You Exposing Yourself Online? and ran a poll to see if you would take part in Quit Facebook Day.

As I’ve said before, I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater but I am looking at ways to tighten up security where required. If you’re concerned about Facebook security, and you really should be, you don’t need to delete your account. You can now use a simple scan to review your Facebook security. It’s a simple matter of moving an icon onto your toolbar and then letting the application scan your Facebook settings.

If you think that all the talk about privacy online is a bit over the top and that no one will be checking out your private posts, think again. is reporting on a new website which is specifically aimed at gathering details from Facebook pages.

Have you tightened up your online security? Does all the talk of security and privacy concern you? I’d be very interested in your thoughts on the issue. Please leave your comments in the comments section of this post.

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