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Oi, journos. Try NOT to get hacked again. Lots of love, Twitter

Hackers have painted a bullseye on hacks' heads, chat site warns

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Twitter has warned news agencies that hackers could strike again unless journalists take basic precautions - like using a decent password.

The micro-blogging site wrote to a number of news outlets warning that hackers consider them "high value" targets.

Their note of caution comes as the Syrian Electronic Army continued their online assault by hacking into Twitter accounts owned by the Guardian.

The infiltration follows the dramatic hacking of the Associated Press' Twitter account by the same group, which the hackers used to send a fake tweet claiming President Obama was injured in a bomb attack. Traders on the Dow Jones stock market panicked, apparently as a result of the tweet, and sent the index plummeting by 143 points.

Twitter's letter to news organisations said:

Please help us keep your accounts secure. There have been several recent incidents of high-profile news and media Twitter handles being compromised. We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to hackers.

The briefing note claimed the hacking incidents were spear phishing attacks, which target corporate email.

Twitter's security bods suggested setting passwords and never sending them by email. One hard to remember password Twitter could be a nonsense word like "LauH6maicaza1Neez3zi" or a random string of words like "hewn cloths titles yachts refine". According to Twitter, "Very difficult passwords will discourage memorization, which will greatly reduce the chances of being phished".

Journalists should designate one computer for Twitter use to avoid spreading the password around, according to the letter. This computer should NOT be used to surf the web or do anything but tweet, which definitely overestimates the IT resources available to most news outlets in the digital age.

The number of people given access to key Twitter accounts should be kept to a minimum, Twitter advises.

The email continued: "Strong security practices will reduce your vulnerability to phishing."

There's no word on whether these security suggestions might limit journos' ability to actually use their computers or send tweets - two things Twitter might like to encourage. ®

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