Twitter asks 300 million users to change their passwords

SansadTV Bureau


Twitter on Friday asked its over 300 million users to consider changing their account passwords after the social media giant identified a bug that stored “unmasked” information.

However, Twitter assured its users that the bug has been fixed and its investigation has found no breach or misuse on any account.

The advisory by the San Francisco-headquartered company comes as debates on data privacy online intensified in the wake of social media giant Facebook’s reported data breach by UK-based analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to influence elections and market campaigns.

“When you set a password for your Twitter account, we use technology that masks it so no one at the company can see it. We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone,” its chief technology officer Parag Agrawal said in a blog.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password. You can change your Twitter password anytime by going to the password settings page,” he added.

Twitter said it masks passwords through a process called “hashing” using a function known as bcrypt, which replaces the actual password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in its system.

“This allows our systems to validate your account credentials without revealing your password. This is an industry standard,” the Indian-origin CTO of Twitter said.

The company said that due to the bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. “We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again,” Agrawal added.

Twitter, which reportedly has over 30 million users in India, had last month said it is committed to protecting users data and their right to privacy.

(With inputs from agencies)