Be careful, Twitter warns

2013-05-02 12:52
Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - Twitter issued a warning to media organisations to improve the security of their tweeting procedures following several high profile hacks in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, federal financial market regulators meeting in Washington discussed risks to the financial market from such cyber attacks on social media channels.

In a memo sent to hundreds of media outlets and posted on the website, the internet company said that the hacking incidents appeared to have stemmed from "spear phishing" attacks that masquerade as legitimate e-mails targeting the journalists running media organisations' Twitter accounts.

The advisory said that organisations should use a dedicated computer to post to Twitter to reduce the chances of a malware infection and should "minimise the number of people" with access to accounts to prevent human error.

"There have been several recent incidents of high-profile news and media Twitter handles being compromised. We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organisations will continue to be high value targets to hackers," the memo stated.


Twitter advised users to use strong passwords at least 20 characters long to access the service and different passwords for their e-mail accounts.

Twitter hit the headlines last week when the main feed of The Associated Press was hacked by a group called the Syrian Electronic Army, and a bogus message was posted about an attack on the White House.

Organisations such as CBS, the BBC, The Guardian and football governing body FIFA have had their Twitter feeds hacked in recent weeks.

The AP incident caused the benchmark Standard and Poor's 500 index to drop by about 1% in the three minutes before the news wire refuted the hacked report. The stock-market gauge recovered its original level within the next three minutes.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates derivatives markets, is launching a process to examine possible regulation of automated trading, chair Gary Gensler said in a public meeting on technology issues on Tuesday in Washington.

The commission has no oversight over stock markets but noted that last week's S&P 500 plunge was blamed on so-called scrape-and-trade algorithms, which harvest data from information feeds to speed buy and sell decisions. Similar new techniques could be used in commodities trading.

"We're not immune from the same operational issues," Gensler said.


He noted that similar cyber threats to market integrity could come from hackers, terrorists, hostile governments and even would-be market manipulators. "It's a bit of an arms race," Gensler said.

Evelyn Fuhrer, managing director of risk management and regulatory compliance consultant Promontory Financial, said that the AP Twitter hack could have been far more damaging to markets if a determined cyber attacker had co-ordinated multiple hoax reports.

"I actually think we got lucky. It was one feed," said Fuhrer, a member of the futures commission's advisory committee.
Read more on:    twitter  |  cybercrime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.