Twitter warns of govt-backed hackers

SAN FRANCISCO • Twitter has issued an alert to some users warning them that state-sponsored hackers may have tried to obtain sensitive data from their accounts, the company said, the first such warning by the micro-blogging site.

It was unclear how many users received the warnings, which were issued over the weekend.

The notice said there was no indication the hackers obtained sensitive information from what it said were a "small group of accounts" targeted. It did not provide additional information about the attack or possible suspects in its investigation.

Twitter's notice is the latest amid concern about cyber attacks by state-sponsored organisations. Government agencies, businesses and media have all been hacked.

One organisation that said it received the notice, a Canada-based non-profit group called Coldhak, said the warning from Twitter came last Friday.

"As a precaution, we are alerting you that your Twitter account is one of a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors," read the message. It said the attackers may have been trying to obtain information such as "e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and/or phone numbers".

Mr Colin Childs, one of the founding directors of Coldhak, told Reuters that his organisation has seen "no noticeable impact of this attack".

Twitter said that it had no further information it could provide "at this time". Google and Facebook have also previously started issuing warnings to users possibly targeted by state-sponsored attacks.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'Twitter warns of govt-backed hackers'. Print Edition | Subscribe