Twitter Says Hackers May Have Stolen User Data in Attack

Twitter Inc., the microblogging service, said it was subjected to unauthorized attempts to hack into its systems and that attackers may have obtained access to information for about 250,000 users.

While San Francisco-based Twitter didn’t identify the source of the attack, it called the perpetrators “extremely sophisticated,” adding yesterday that “we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked.”

The New York Times Co. (NYT) reported on Jan. 30 that its computer network was attacked repeatedly by Chinese hackers. The Wall Street Journal also detailed similar attacks on its systems, while Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, said there have been unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate its network.

“This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data,” Twitter said in a blog posting yesterday. “We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later.”

The company said it reset passwords for affected accounts, and it is getting in touch via e-mail with those with accounts that were breached.

Twitter was the target of a so-called denial-of-service attack in 2009, along with Facebook Inc. (FB) and LiveJournal Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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