Twitter Survives Scare of Major Security Breach
On May 8th, a band of rogue hackers, who claimed to have strong connections with the infamous underground cybercrime cult, The Anonymous Group, published a long list of what appeared to be usernames and passwords of more than 55,000 hacked Twitter accounts. As expected, the news triggered widespread panic and confusion among Tweeters, all of whom echoed renewed concerns over the security of their personal information and private details.
The disturbing news appeared to be the latest in a series of similar instances where high-profile Twitter accounts have been infiltrated into after their security and privacy protection were rendered useless. The news came at a time when cybercriminals have been virtually running amok, planning elaborate hacking and phishing scams aimed at gaining illegal access to the personal details of internet users.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, it was eventually learned that the report was merely a prank and that no such hacking feat had been accomplished as had been claimed by the group. Upon a closer inspection of the list published by the hackers, it was realized that nearly half of the nearly 55,000 usernames and passwords that were populated into the list were duplicate entries that were repeated time and again.
According to the official findings published by Twitter, of the nearly 55,000 accounts that were reportedly hacked by the infamous group, more than 20,000 were duplicate usernames and passwords. As for the remaining accounts mentioned in the list, Twitter confirms that more than 90% of them to have been ‘suspended a long time ago’ as spam Twitter accounts.
What was even more relieving for existing Twitter users was the disclosure that a vast majority of the account details mentioned in the list were of accounts that had long ago been suspended by Twitter. This essentially confirmed the ominous news reported on the hacking blog ‘Air Demon’ as an elaborate prank; a scam aimed at inciting mass hysteria among internet users in general and Twitter users in particular.
Although Twitter is certainly thankful to have survived the scare virtually unscathed, there are many users of the online social networking platform who still reserve genuine concerns regarding the security and privacy of their personal details. And when the unfaltering resolution of cybercriminals is taken into consideration, a growing number of Tweeters believe that such security breaches may, in fact, be a common occurrence.
In an email circulated to all existing Twitter account users, the official spokesperson for Twitter, Carolyn Penner, confirmed that the entire situation was being analyzed by officials so as to ascertain whether any personal information or private details of account users have been compromised. Carolyn also confirmed that the passwords of potentially affected accounts have been reset so as to prevent any compromise of data.
With the rapid increase in instances of cybercrimes, particularly in data and identity theft, hacking and phishing, many users have voiced genuine concerns over the possibility of a security or privacy breach. Twitter has traditionally taken violations seriously, especially for high-profile accounts that are considered to be the most prone to hacking.