RealTime IT News

Twitter's Security Woes Continue

For the second time in two weeks, microblogging site Twitter has suffered a high-profile security breach, this time at the hands of a hacker who gained access to the accounts of several celebrities' accounts.

A post under the handle "Hacker Croll" appeared on a French Web site containing screen shots of the back end of several Twitter profiles, seemingly taken while logged in as the site's administrator.

Among those targeted: Barack Obama, Britney Spears, and self-anointed Twitter kingpin Ashton Kutcher.

Describing the exploit in an online discussion forum, Hacker Croll wrote, "one of the admins has a yahoo account, i've reset the password by answering to the secret question. Then, in the mailbox, i have found her twitter password."

In a blog post, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone confirmed the breach but sought to downplay the damage.

"This week, unauthorized access to Twitter was gained by an outside party," Stone wrote. "Our initial security reviews and investigations indicate that no account information was altered or removed in any way. However, we discovered that 10 individual accounts were viewed during this unauthorized access."

Stone said Twitter had notified the 10 people whose accounts had been viewed. He said the company had determined that the hacker was unable to access users' passwords or any direct messages they had sent.

However, the hacker was able to view personal information in the profiles such as an e-mail address, a list of blocked accounts and a cell phone number, if one was associated with the account.

In response to the breach, Stone said the company would commission a third-party security audit and implement "additional anti-intrusion measures to further safeguard user data."

This week's hack closely follows a worm that spread across Twitter over Easter weekend, infiltrating about 200 accounts and sending out thousands of spam tweets.

Stone did not immediately respond to a request for further comment by press time.