It seems that as soon as people start to feel secure about using the internet again, another one of these massive attacks occur.
In what has been characterized as an "extremely sophisticated"" attack, 250,000 Twitter accounts were compromised by hackers earlier this week, announced the company on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The fast messaging service noticed "unusual access patterns earlier this week and found that user information — usernames, e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords" may have been accessed, as reported by The New York Times.
There is certainly no shortage of books on how to keep one's information safe on the internet. Volumes include "Complete Guide to internet Privacy, Anonymity and Security" by Matthew Bailey and "Managing Risk and Information: Protect to Enable" by Malcolm Harkins. Some books are specifically geared to what is often seen as the most vulnerable users, seniors, such as "Using the Internet Safely for Seniors for Dummies" by Nancy C. Muir and Linda Criddle. Following instructions from a book may make users feel more secure but there are no guarantees.
Although spokesman Jim Prosser would not say how hackers infiltrated their system, the company said in a blog post that it was "not the work of amateurs" and that they believe it was not an isolated attack, expressing concern that other companies and organizations may have also been victimized by similar attacks . In the same blog post, Twitter hinted that hackers had used the widely publicized vulnerability in Oracle's Java software to break through.
Last month the Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory to users, warning them to disable Java on their computers. Oracle's attempt to fix the problem was determined by DHS to be insufficient. Oracle has provided detailed instructions on their Java website for disabling the software, for individuals who do not own Macs.
Prosser said that they were "working with government and federal law enforcement to track down the source of the attacks. For now, he said the company had reset passwords for, and notified, every compromised user".
The importance of using common sense on the internet, such as passwords that cannot be easily discovered is of vital importance. It is up to users, first and foremost, to protect their information.