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Twitter hit by 'sophisticated' cyber attack



SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has said it was hammered by a “sophisticated” cyber attack similar to those that recently hit major Western news outlets. It also said the passwords of about 250,000 users were stolen.

“This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident,” Twitter information security director Bob Lord said in a blog post. Lord referred to an “uptick in large-scale security attacks aimed at US technology and media companies” as he told of Twitter detecting attempts this week to get unauthorised access to data in the firm’s network.

The attack coincided with the revelation of several high-profile security breaches. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal said this week that they had been hacked, and pointed to attackers from China.

Twitter did not confirm the source of the intrusion. But noted “the attackers were extremely sophisticated, and other companies and organisations had also been recently similarly attacked.”

He said Twitter shut down a live attack as it was in process. But cyber attackers may have gotten usernames, email addresses, passwords and other data. As a precaution, Twitter invalidated passwords of accounts at issue and sent email messages telling people to create new passwords.

Twitter announced in December the number of active users had topped 200 million.

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