Feeds

Twitter reaches settlement with feds over privacy lapses

Password sins absolved

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Twitter has agreed to overhaul its data-security practices to settle federal charges that shoddy password policies and other lapses at the microblogging site exposed its users' private information.

Under a tentative settlement reached with the Federal Trade Commission, Twitter must establish a comprehensive information-security program that is assessed by a third party every other year for the next decade. The San Francisco-based company will also be barred from “misleading consumers about the extent to which it maintains and protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information,” according to a release issued Thursday.

The settlement settles charges that Twitter misled its millions of users about the safety of their private information stored on the website. The federal consumer watchdog agency also cited two lapses last year that it said contradicted those assurances. In the first one, which occurred in January, a hacker used an automated password-guessing script to obtain administrative control after flooding the website with thousands of possible phrases. He hit pay dirt when the program submitted the word “happiness,” Wired.com reported at the time.

Three months later, a separate hacker also gained administrative control of the site after first compromising a Twitter employee's personal email account, where her password was stored in the clear. At the time, Twitter encouraged employees to use their own personal accounts for work purposes and had them sign in to restricted parts of the site using the same login screen used by normal users, the FTC said.

The FTC included a litany of other security sins committed by Twitter, including allowing employees to use simple words found in the dictionary to access administrative accounts, allowing them to store them in the clear and failing to require passwords to be changed regularly.

The agreement is subject to public comment for 30 days before commissioners decide whether it should be final. A link for submissions is here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.