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Keeping our users secure
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2013 19:34:13 -0500


As you may have read, there’s been a recent uptick in large-scale
security attacks aimed at U.S. technology and media companies. Within
the last two weeks, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have
chronicled breaches of their systems, and Apple and Mozilla have
turned off Java by default in their browsers.

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/saltedversions of passwords – for approximately 250,000

As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and
revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of
them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from
us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you
that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will
not work when you try to log in to Twitter.

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.

We also echo the advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security and security experts to encourage users to disable Java on
their computers. For instructions on how to disable Java, read this
recent Slate article.

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. For that reason we felt that it was important to
publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are
helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find
and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all

Posted by Bob Lord (@boblord)
Director of Information Security
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Risk Based Security (http://www.riskbasedsecurity.com/)
Risk Based Security equips organizations with security intelligence, risk
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Tenable Network Security (http://www.tenable.com/)
Tenable Network Security provides a suite of solutions which unify real-time
vulnerability, event and compliance monitoring into a single, role-based, interface
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report needed information for effective decision making and systems management.

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