This week there are reports that over 55,000 Twitter accounts have been hacked by people affiliated with the hacktivist group Anonymous. To make matters worse for the account owners, their details have also been published.
Over five long pages of Twitter usernames and passwords have been posted onto the text storage site Pastebin. According to hacking news aggregator Airdemon, celebrity accounts were among those hacked during the attack, and the site also claimed that a “Twitter insider” had confirmed there had been a breach.
However, when a Twitter representative spoke with Mashable on Tuesday, they moved to quell the rumours of a large-scale attack, stating that the claims are for the most part false, but they did say that the situation is still being investigated.
When the actual contents of the Pastebin uploads are examined, it becomes clear that there are more than 20,000 duplicates found within the five pages of stolen account information. The Twitter spokesperson also said that many of the accounts listed were spam accounts that had previously been suspended and furthermore, there is no discernible link between many of the usernames and passwords, so they are of little use to anyone.
In any case, Twitter has sent out password resets to any accounts that may have been affected by this hack, and suggests that anyone who is concerned by the situation should visit the Twitter Help Center to change their login credentials and review their security settings.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that the hackers’ claims are truthful? Perhaps the more pertinent question would be what do Anonymous hope to gain from carrying out (what they say is) a large-scale attack on everyday web users? Please give us your views by leaving a comment.