Twitter sent a memo (seems an odd phrase) to journalists late afternoon April 29 warning attacks on journalists’ accounts could continue and recommending specific steps to increase security.
The memo comes in the wake of last week’s attack on the Associated Press (AP) Twitter account which resulted in a tweet saying explosions erupted at The White House and the President was injured. Moments later the Stock Market suffered a significant plunge, generated mostly by computer-driven stock trades.
It’s a frightening Tweet.
BuzzFeed reprinted the Twitter memo, which mostly includes common sense security measures which any Twitter user should regularly employ: routinely change your passwords, keep email accounts secure, watch for any suspicious activity.
:But other sections reflect a scramble for a solution,” BuzzFeed suggests. “‘Designate one computer to use for Twitter.’ ‘Don’t use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection.’
“Yes: Twitter is telling journalists to stay off the internet on the computers they use for Twitter. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, in other words.”
And, then, there is this warning at the beginning of the memo: “We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to hackers.”
The hijacking of the AP account last week wasn’t the first. Several other news organizations’ Twitter accounts have been hit in recent weeks, as well, including the New York Times. CBS, PBS and NPR and others. But the AP attack caused some damage and highlighted in stark terms what could happen if the Twitter accounts of news organizations suddenly went off road.
It has been reported for a couple of weeks Twitter is working on a two-step verification process to secure accounts, much like the two-step process used by Google to verify accounts. And the Google process is genius in its simplicity and effectiveness. But, as BuzzFeed, points out it may not be that simple when several different reporters may use a single news organization’s Twitter feed.
“These incidents appear to be spear phishing attacks that target your corporate email,” reads the Twitter memo. “Promoting individual awareness of these attackswithin your organization and following the security guidelines is vital to preventing abuse of your Twitter accounts.”