Recent Twitter Hacks Highlight Social Networking Vulnerabilities

Paul Lilly

Last month, a hacker calling himself Hacker Croll infiltrated an administrator's email account who works for Twitter, gaining access to the employee's Google Apps account, where Twitter shares spreadsheets and documents outlining business ideas and various financial details, said Biz Stone, a Twitter co-founder.

After doing so, the hacker sent all sorts of confidential documents to a pair of news blogs: TechCrunch and Korben. While the breach and subsequent sharing of information might have been embarrassing for Twitter, analysts say the attack highlights the bigger problem of people using the same password for ever site they visit.

According to security firm Sophos, 40 percent of Internet users use the same password for every website. And with so many personal details floating around social networking sites, it makes it that much easier for hackers to breach someone's account.

"A lot of the Twitter users are much living their lives in public," said Chris King , director of product marketing at Palo Alto Networks, which creates firewalls. "If you broadcast all your details about what your dog's name is and what hour hometown is, it's not that hard to figure out a password."

This won't come as a surprise to power users, but to avoid being hacked, use strong passwords that combine letters and numbers, change your passwords often, and don't use the same password for every site you visit.

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