FTC officially closes Twitter security investigation

The federal regulator said that Twitter misled consumers about how secure their information really was

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has closed the book on its legal action against Twitter, stemming from two 2009 hacking incidents where high-profile Twitter users -- including President Barack Obama -- lost control of their accounts.

The FTC said that Twitter was guilty of "serious lapses in the company's data security," after hackers twice broke into Twitter administrative consoles by figuring out the passwords of Twitter staffers in early 2009. They then used that access to read private messages and send out fake Twitter messages using a number of high-profile Twitter accounts, including Obama's and those of Britney Spears and Fox News.

Twitter misled consumers by saying that it was taking appropriate security measures to protect their privacy, the FTC said.

In June 2010, Twitter and the FTC reached a tentative settlement in the matter, and that was finalized by the FTC on Friday. The FTC's five commissioners voted unanimously to accept the settlement.

Twitter now faces fines if it misleads consumers about its security and privacy protections, and it must set up a "comprehensive information security program, which will be assessed by an independent auditor every other year for 10 years," the FTC said.

In a blog post last June, Twitter said that it had already implemented many of the security practices suggested by the FTC.

Observers say that Twitter security has improved since the 2009 attacks, but there are still some problems. Last week actor Ashton Kutcher had his Twitter account briefly taken over, apparently after he exposed his log-in credentials over an unsecured wireless network at the TED conference. That type of attack could be eliminated if Twitter forced users to connect over a secure Web connection.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitydata breachtwitterprivacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?