Feeds

Twitter reaches settlement with feds over privacy lapses

Password sins absolved

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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.