Twitter's Mass Password Reset Wasn't the Result of a Hack

March 04, 2014
By: Rory Lidstone

The frequency of major hacks seems to be rising lately to the point that receiving a “your account may have been compromised” email is now pretty much commonplace. Major mobile services have been hit — there was that Snapchat breach earlier this year, for example — and even more established, professional-focused services — think last year’s major Adobe hack that left millions compromised — haven’t been spared.

And so, if you were one of the handful of Twitter (News - Alert) users that received that all-too-familiar warning email in the last couple days, you probably thought the worst — and rightly so. After all, the message sent out by the microblogging service was pretty typical.

“Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter,” read the email. “We’ve reset your password to prevent accessing your account.”

And yet, against all odds, Twitter actually hasn’t been compromised; those who received that email weren’t compromised. Instead, the email was the result of a simple mix-up. As a Twitter spokesperson put it, the mass reset was set off accidentally by the company itself.

“We unintentionally sent some password reset notices tonight due to a system error,” a Twitter spokesman told Re/code. “We apologize to the affected users for the inconvenience.”

Fortunately, this means there’s absolutely no cause for worry this time. Better yet, less than one percent of Twitter’s user base was hit, so the scare wasn’t even that widespread. That said, it didn’t stop users from taking to Twitter to complain and inquire about the incident.

To be fair, Twitter can’t claim that it has never suffered a security breach. The company was hit last year with an attack by an unidentified group of hackers. The result was that around 250,000 Twitter users potentially had their usernames, e-mail addresses and other sensitive information exposed.

So, even if Monday’s scare was a little inconvenient, let’s just be thankful it wasn’t the real thing.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker