The social media giant Twitter acknowledged that it has become the latest victim in a number of cyber-attacks against media companies. The company says hackers may have gained access to information on at least 250,000 of active users. All together Twitter users are estimated to be around 200 million.
On Friday, the company said in a blog post it detected attempts to gain access to users’ data. Twitter managed to shut down the attack few minutes after it was detected.
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However, the attackers may have stolen user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. Therefore, the company reset the pilfered passwords and sent emails advising the affected users.
Recently there have been a number of hacks into the computer systems of big media and technology companies, such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Bob Lord, Twitter’s director of information security wrote in the blog that the 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,” Lord said.
Twitter hack probably happened after an employee’s home or work computer was compromised through vulnerabilities in Java, a commonly used computing language whose weaknesses have been well publicized.
Twitter is used to broadcast messages to the public. Stolen credentials could be used to eavesdrop on private messages or track from where users are posting from.