Feeds

Twitter settles with FTC over celeb account hacks

Obama and Spears account hijinks fail to amuse privacy watchdog

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Twitter has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over a complaint that it had failed to safeguard user privacy well enough, a shortcoming that allowed two successful attacks against the micro-blogging network in 2009.

The settlement means that Twitter will be obliged to establish a more rigorous information security policy – which will be independently audited, at Twitter's expense, every two years. The micro-blogging site also agreed not to make assurances that mislead consumers about the "extent to which it protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality" of private information.

Breaches to the agreement, finalised last Friday, will cost Twitter up to $16,000 a pop.

The agreement draws a line under a complaint from the FTC over a brace of breaches between January and May 2009 that allowed hackers to gain administrative control of Twitter. Hackers were able to send out Tweets under assumed names as well as snoop upon the privacy settings of prominent users.

Hackers were able to take over prominent Twitter accounts – including those maintained by Barack Obama and Britney Spears – and make merry as a result of security shortcomings by Twitter back in January 2009. A simple password guessing attack was used to break into Twitter feeds, before falsely outing Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly as gay and eliciting the strange admission from Spears that her vagina was four feet wide "with razor sharp teeth".

A second, separate hack in late April allowed hackers to spy on the account settings of the most exclusive Twitterati. The breach allowed miscreants to discover that both Ashton Kutcher and pop star Lily Rose Allen had blocked celebrity gossip monger Perez Hilton, for example. Barack Obama had blocked 96 Twitter users at the time, according to screenshots of the hack posted on a French blog. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.