Twitter Boosts Security After Hacking Barrage

Dennis Faas's picture

Twitter plans to introduce an "account verification" feature that the social networking site hopes will help beef up security. The move follows a spate of attacks in which high-profile media accounts have been taken over and used to publish bogus news claims.

The new system is a form of 'two-factor verification', meaning that merely providing a standard password isn't enough. When a person uses two-factor verification security, a hacker who gains access to a password still won't be able to break into an account.

If users enable the new system in their account settings, they'll be able to add a cellphone number to their account. Each time they try to log in to their account, users will get an SMS text message with a six-digit code and will need to type this code in along with their password. (Source:

If a user has their password stored in their browser or mobile application, they won't need to go through the process every time.

Text Message Check No Substitute For Strong Password

The system is rather unique. In comparison, Google users can avoid being prompted for a code on a selected computer.

Twitter noted that all users should continue to use complicated passwords that will be difficult for hackers to crack. Characteristics of a secure password include a lot of characters, mixing letters with numbers and symbols, and avoiding common words.

Syrian Hackers Inspire Security Crackdown

The measure is partly a response to the hacking of Twitter accounts used by several media organizations. Some of those hacks were carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, a group sympathetic to that nation's embattled government.

Recently, the hackers simply posted promotional messages and propaganda videos. However, in past attacks the hackers printed fake news stories.

With many of these hacks, it appears the media outlets were victims of so-called phishing scams in which they received bogus emails that tricked staff into revealing log-in details.

Twitter noted one of the problems was that some organizations allowed multiple reporters to access the same account. As a result, more people knew the password in the first place. (Source:

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