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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid