updated 02:14 pm EDT, Tue April 30, 2013
Twitter account intrusions could rise as hackers crave press coverage
Twitter has written to news organizations in order to help prevent their highly-followed accounts being hijacked. The memo comes in the wake of a number of high-profile attacks on media Twitter accounts, with the micro-blogging service expecting the compromising of high-profile accounts to continue in the future.
The memo, published by Buzzfeed, advises news organizations to change their passwords to one that is at least 20 characters long, securing the associated e-mail account, reviewing applications authorized to access Twitter accounts, and to create a "formal incident response plan" in the event of phishing or similar attacks. Twitter also recommends checking for signs of compromises, minimizing the number of people able to access the account, and also designating a single computer to use Twitter, though it is advised that the same computer should not be used to read e-mail or go online for other purposes "to reduce the chances of malware infection." The service is said to be working on its own two-factor authentication system for added security.
In recent weeks, the Guardian and the Associated Press are said to have been attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. The attack of AP led to a brief dip on the Dow Jones, after the account spread a false message claiming that there were explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama was injured. A previous attack against Twitter itself affected 250,000 accounts and, though not directly connected to the press intrusions, is claimed not "the work of amateurs."