Twitter reveals security blunder, asks users to change their passwords

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330 million Twitter users around the world have been urged to change their account password after a glitch resulted in some of them being stored in plaintext format inside the company network. How many and for how long, they didn’t say.

Twitter password bug

Twitter password bug

“We mask passwords through a process called hashing using a function known as bcrypt, which replaces the actual password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in Twitter’s system. This allows our systems to validate your account credentials without revealing your password. This is an industry standard,” Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal explained.

“Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again.”

He noted that their investigation showed no indication of breach or misuse by anyone, but it’s laudable that they’ve decided to inform users about this when they could have just deleted the log in question and kept mum about it.

Choosing a good password

Agrawal has advised users to change their Twitter password, choose a new, strong one and not to reuse it on any other account.

He has also urged users to use a password manager to create a strong and unique password and store it securely, and to enable login verification (aka 2-factor authentication) for added security.

Given that Thursday was World Password Day, this notification couldn’t have come at a better time, as users have likely been getting good advice about choosing and using passwords.

Agrawal’s advice is on point, as password reuse and phishing are a big problem. The former issue can be easily fixed by letting a password manager choose and store your passwords, and 2-factor or multifactor authentication is a good solution for the latter.