Celebrity Twitter security failings slammed

Left feeling a right Twitter
Left feeling a right Twitter

Sophos believes that problems with phishing on Twitter pale in comparison to the recent hacking into celebrity accounts, hitting out at the micro-blogging site's security.

A number of high profile celebs found that comments had been posted on their accounts after admin tools to reset passwords were compromised by hackers.

This meant the likes of Britney Spears and Barack Obama were hit with a potentially embarrassing situation.


Sophos, an IT Security firm, believes that the targeting of 33 high-profile people is potentially more problematic than the growing problems with 'twishing'.

"This latest attack is actually much more serious than these people and organisations falling for a simple phishing attack," said Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos.

"It appears that Twitter's systems were potentially exposing everybody's account to the danger of being taken over by hackers - this breach could actually have been much more serious and affected many more of Twitter's users.

"Twitter needs to take a long hard look at its security to ensure that this never happens again, and regain the confidence of its members.

"This shocking start to the year for Twitter should send a stark warning to any online company holding details of its users that it needs to make certain it has proper security in place to prevent illegitimate access."


Twitter co-founder Biz Stone explained that the tools were quickly disabled when the problem was discovered - with an individual rather than a group apparently to blame.

"These accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools our support team uses to help people do things like edit the email address associated with their Twitter account when they can't remember or get stuck," said Stone.

"We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We'll put them back only when they're safe and secure."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.