Data security dealt another body blow as Twitter gets hacked

About 250,000 Twitter accounts may have been hacked last week. Was yours one of them?

On Friday, the company announced via its official blog that it has reset the passwords for those users after a breach was detected in which email addresses, usernames and encrypted password data may have been accessed by hackers.

The blog post was quick to point out that other companies such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have recently fallen victim to data security breaches as well, though those attacks appear to have been state-sponsored (check back here tomorrow for more on those breaches).

There has been no indication as of yet that the infiltration of Twitter was related to those incidents. However, Bob Lord, the company’s director of information security and author of the blog post, said he does not believe this was an isolated event, and that the attack was sophisticated and not “not the work of amateurs.”

Lord also suggested that users disable Java in their Web browsers, seemingly suggesting that some of the blame for the Twitter breach could lie there.

The bottom line is that the methods used by hackers, whether independent or state-sponsored, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Are you taking the necessary steps to ensure that your employees are aware of how serious data security and social media risk management are? Are you absolutely certain that no one is using the same password for their personal Twitter account as they are for their login to your company network?

All it takes is for one individual to either be too lazy to care or uninformed, and your whole company could end up paying the price. Seeking out the advice of a data risk management expert is the best move one can make. In the meantime, try implementing a system where employees regularly change their company passwords in an effort to limit windows of exposure.

John Sileo is an data security expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy and risk management. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.