It’s been a bad week for Twitter - over the last weekend the community was attacked by a Phishing Scam attack and in the last 24 hours 33 high profile Twitter users had their accounts hacked. These accounts included President Elect Barack Obama, Rick Sanchez, Britney Spears and other high profile/celebrity Twitter users.
Twitter explained what happened in a post on their blog:
“The issue with these 33 accounts is different from the Phishing scam aimed at Twitter users this weekend. 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. 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.”
To be fair to Twitter - both this situation and the Phishing one were responded to quickly by Twitter however it does show that Twitter is increasingly being targeted by malicious attacks and should serve as a warning to those using Twitter to expect the unexpected. While there wasn’t anything that those who had their accounts hacked could have done to prevent this - do keep your password secret and regularly updated.
Twitter does seem to be moving towards a more secure system with an beta test of OAuth scheduled for later this month - but until it goes live (and even after it) be a little more alert than normal.