You may not have heard, but roughly 250,000 Twitter accounts may have been compromised by hackers. There's a theory that -- if you read between the lines -- Twitter is implying the Chinese are to blame for compromising their security.
Twitter revealed that roughly a quarter million accounts may have been compromised by hackers in a blog post Friday evening. (A classic Friday evening news dump if there ever was one; they got a $10 billion valuation the same day.)
Bandits might have made away with "usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users." They think. A Twitter representative stressed to the Verge that they're still investigating; there's a chance we're all safe.
But Twitter mentions the New York Times and Wall Street Journal hacks in their opening paragraph, apropos of nothing, really. It could mean the company was just trying to show they're not alone in being targeted -- look at these bullies picking on these other kids, too. Or it could mean they're subtly implying China is behind it all.
The last paragraph in Twitter's statement is where the theory really gets its legs. Emphasis ours:
This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.
So, did they do it? These sophisticated hackers who targeted other companies and organizations sure sounds like they're implying it was China.
Was it China in the basement with the Cheetos and Red Bull and impressive coding skill? We don't know for sure, but we're definitely looking for any and every clue we can find.
Update 1:34 p.m.: The Atlantic Wire's Adam Clark Estes was one of the 250,000 users affected by the hack. This is the email Twitter sent to users who were victims of the attack:
Dear Twitter User:
As a precautionary security measure, we have reset your Twitter account password. Check your inbox for a separate email from Twitter with instructions on how to reset your password. If you don't see an email, you can go to this page in our Help Center to request a password reset. More information is below.
We recently detected an attack on our systems in which the attackers may have had access to limited user information - specifically, your username, email address and an encrypted/salted version of your password (not the actual letters and numbers in your password). Further information about the attack can be found in this blog post.
Since your password has been reset, your old password will not work when you try to log into Twitter. We strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to select a strong password - at least 10 (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols - that you are not using for any other accounts or sites. Using the same password for multiple online accounts significantly increases your odds of being compromised.
This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to reset your password and publicize this attack while we still gather information. We are also helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.