News / Asia

Twitter Apologizes for China Hacking Error

Screenshot of Twitter apology
Screenshot of Twitter apology
Twitter is apologizing for setting off alarms about the possible hacking of accounts belonging to China-based foreign journalists, saying an email that went out earlier in the day was a mistake.

Twitter posted the apology Thursday, hours after several journalists and analysts were notified of an attempted hacking.  The emails came just as China's Communist Party begins a sensitive meeting that will set in motion a once-a-decade leadership transition.

Twitter said it automatically resets passwords in instances when it believes an account may have been compromised.  But Twitter said this time it "unintentionally reset passwords of a larger number of accounts, beyond those that we believed to have been compromised. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused."

The initial emails, sent out early Thursday, did not specify who carried out the hacking attempt.

Chinese Internet users have been experiencing difficulties in accessing overseas websites and in using VPNs that allow users to circumvent Chinese censorship.

Many analysts have been expecting China's extensive network of Internet censors, known as the Great Firewall of China, to crack down harder on online content in the lead-up to the congress.

David Bandurski, who heads the China Media Project in Hong Kong, told VOA he was posting Twitter messages about Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech at the 18th Party Congress when he got the initial warning.

"I had someone else, a programmer, look at it and say that's a legit message from twitter,"  Bandurski said. "Beyond that I don't know what that means or who could be behind it. I have my guesses that I won't hazard, but I'm not sure what to say other than that it's an annoyance."

Patrick Chovanec, a business professor and analyst in Beijing, told VOA he also received the message.

"What I think is more remarkable about this is that I made one tweet saying it had happened and then a lot of other people replied saying the same thing had happened to them, people who are China watchers," he explained. "That's actually the significance of it -- it wasn't actually that disruptive, but it happened to a lot of people in a similar line of work at the same time."

Twitter warns users to use updated virus software, create a strong password, and be on alert for suspicious links.

* Jeff Seldin also contributed to this story

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dean Collins from: New York
November 08, 2012 10:08 AM
This had nothign to do with China..... poor reporting

Lots of twitter accoutns received this notice this morning.

Interestingly i received this for about half of the http://www.LiveFanChat.com accounts but not others. As we dont use any unauthorised third party apps this means the Twitter backend must have been what got hacked....eg its not like the facebook leak where it was an app that was stealing user data.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs