Twitter Begins Warning Users Targeted by State-Sponsored Hackers

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Twitter, one of the largest social networks online today has begun warning dozens of users that their account information may have been targeted by state-sponsored hackers.

Within dozens of emails sent to security researchers, privacy advocates, journalists and activists over the past couple of days, Twitter has said there has been no evidence of a successful attack thus far. However, Twitter officials did note that are actively investigating the possibility that these accounts were breached in some way. Though there is no information on the exact number of warnings sent out, or who they were directed towards, one list on Twitter shows 36 people who were targeted while another lists some 32 Twitter users targeted.

“As a precaution, we are alerting you that your Twitter account is one of a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors,” Twitter officials warned in an email. “We believe that these actors (possibly associated with a government) may have been trying to obtain information such as e-mail addresses, IP addresses and/or phone numbers.”

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Twitter houses a variety of users, some who tie their personal names and businesses directly to their account, while some wish to remain completely anonymous while using the service, something Twitter actually respects. The warning from officials suggests that people who have been targeted by these state-sponsored hackers use anonymizing services such as Tor and use safe social networking practices to evade these type of attacks.

Twitter is the third largest company to add itself to the growing list of huge corporations that are actively warning users they may be a target to state-sponsored hackers. Google revealed their notification service in 2012, while Facebook most recently announced a similar service in October. Though corporations are continuing to actively monitor these attacks in hopes of keeping users safe, details on which government is suspect to the hacking is never disclosed. Though, a list of countries caught targeting activists with state-sponsored hackers include the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Russia, just to name a few.

It’s unknown if the list of targeted users will continue to grow, or if emails are still being sent. Though the warning may be scary, Twitter is actively warning its users to stay safe against these government level attackers.

[Photo via coldhak/Twitter]

About Author

Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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