Oh noes: Twitter tells of “state actor” hack on tweeps (this is what you should know)

Hacked by actors “possibly associated with a government”

Twitter state-sponsored hack
Credit: @delbius

Twitter users may have had their privacy hacked by the guv’mint. Well, at least, someone’s government—we don’t know which, and Twitter isn’t telling.

Not even the usually-transparent Del Harvey—head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety team—pictured, avec fetching fringe. Can’t anyone shed light on what’s been happening?

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers try to illuminate the truth. Not to mention: The War on Oldfield...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 8:41 am PST with more comment]

Who and why? Sarah Jeong contributes Twitter Told a Bunch of Users They May Be Targets of a 'State Sponsored Attack':

In their notice to users, Twitter said that the attack only impacted usernames, IP address, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Twitter did not say which state was implicated—it could have been China, Russia, or even the US.

Overall, there are no clear links between users, but there are some patterns. ... There are a number of users targeted who are based in Canada and related to the security community.

That sounds concerning. Here’s Stephen R. Trousdale, with more—Twitter warns some users of possible state-sponsored cyber attack:

Twitter...issued an alert to some users warning them that state-sponsored hackers may have tried to obtain sensitive data from...a "small group of accounts."

[It’s] the first such warning by the micro blogging site.

Google and Facebook have also started issuing warnings to users possibly targeted by state-sponsored attacks.

Do we have no better theories of which “state” we’re talking about? Aunty Beeb says Twitter warns of government 'hacking':

The Chinese and North Korean governments are thought to be responsible for some cyber hacking of western companies and governments.

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert...said that government-backed attackers have far greater resources at their disposal than criminal hacker gangs.

What does the blue bird have to say for itself? Steven “meta” Musil tries and fails—Twitter warns some users of possible 'government' hacking:

A spokesman for San Francisco-based Twitter confirmed the authenticity of the emails but declined to provide further comment.

Social media in particular has become a more popular battlefield for hackers in recent years. The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacking group that supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has claimed responsibility for several hacks of news sites and company Web sites.

So, not a lot, then. Jacob Appelbaum asks the pertinent question:

One has to ask did @Twitter get owned? Do they plan to share more?

Meanwhile, why the weird terminology we always use in these cases? That’s what Andrea @puellavulnerata Shepard wants to know:

It's always actors. Why don't I ever have state-sponsored playwrights trying to **** with my account?

Update: What we need about now is a “war on crypto” angle. Johnny @backtothefarm Parker obliges:

Here's a reason you don't want to give the government an encryption backdoor. Dumbass lawmakers pay attention.

And Finally...

How to fight back in the War on Oldfield: Turn this up to 11

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Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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