A hacker going by the name of Hacker Croll has apparently gained access to an administrator account at the micro-blogging service Twitter.
Posting on a French online discussion forum, Hacker Croll claimed to have hacked into the account of Jason Goldman, one of Twitter’s directors of product management. To back up the claims, he or she posted 13 screenshots of Twitter’s account management interface.
The screenshots suggest that the hacker was able to access the accounts of several celebrity Twitter users, including those of the singer Britney Spears and the actor Ashton Kutcher.
Late on Thursday evening, Twitter made the following statement in its blog.
“This week, unauthorised access to Twitter was gained by an outside party. Our initial security reviews and investigations indicate that no account information was altered or removed in any way. However, we discovered that 10 individual accounts were viewed during this unauthorised access.
“Personal information that may have been viewed on these 10 individual accounts includes email address, mobile phone number (if one was associated with the account), and the list of accounts blocked by that user. We have personally contacted Twitter users whose accounts were compromised via this unauthorised access.”
The company added that no password information appears to have been changed, and no personal messages viewed.
This is the second time this year that Twitter has been hacked. It seems that Hacker Croll used the same method as the earlier hacker. He or she simply correctly guessed a password based on minimal information about the target.
On March 5 this year, Twitter admitted that 750 Twitter accounts had been broken into and had a link to a webcam site posted on the accounts.
At the time, Twitter issued this advice to its users: “Keep in mind that strong passwords can help prevent hijacked accounts. Twitter offers a password strength indicator to help you choose a strong password when you sign up.” Perhaps now it should issue a memo to the same effect to its own executives.