Twitter, Washington Post Were Also Hacked

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 2 2013 10:53 AM

Twitter, Washington Post Are Latest Media Companies To Report Cyberattacks

110014362
The Twitter logo is displayed at the entrance of the company's headquarters in San Francisco

Photo by KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images

Another day, another report of a cyberattack against a media company. Except in this case there were two. Social media giant Twitter and the Washington Post were the latest companies to reveal they, too, were victims of cyberattacks. But the Post is alone in directly stating that the attack was likely the work of Chinese hackers, just like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal did earlier in the week. Bloomberg also said it had suffered an attack but insisted its system wasn’t breached and Reuters said it was hacked twice in August, although no details were released on the source.

The Post attack was first discovered in 2011 even though the hackers likely first successfully hacked the paper’s systems as early as 2008. Sources say sensitive passwords were probably compromised, likely giving hackers access to the paper’s network before they were cut off. Several of the paper’s journalists are none too happy that the company kept this quiet, seemingly only revealing the news to its own employees after a blog run by a former Post staffer broke the news. The blog—Krebs on Security—claims National Security Agency and Defense Department experts took one of the servers for analysis, but the Post wasn’t able to confirm whether that was true. (Disclosure: Slate and the Washington Post are owned by the same parent company.)

Advertisement

For its part, Twitter revealed in a blog post that it has detected an effort to gain access to its data earlier in the week. Even though the company claims it was “able to shut it down in process moments later,” the hackers may have still stolen some data—including names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords—from around 250,000 users. The company highlighted this amounted to “only a very small percentage of our users.” The hackers likely gained access by taking advantage of compromises in an employee’s computer created by Java.

If there’s a chance you still haven’t disabled Java in your browser, read the handy guide by Slate’s Will Oremus—even Twitter recommends it.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?