May the Fourth Be with … Twitter

Morey Haber, Chief Technology Officer
May 4th, 2018

Hopefully you recognize that today is May the 4th – the unofficial Star Wars Day (and a bad pun on “May the force be with you”). Yesterday, May 3rd, was National Password Day, and the news exploded with revelations that Twitter reported a bug in their logging system that exposed potentially all users’ passwords in clear text files.

While no breach was reported, logging passwords in clear text is a major security snafu. As Twitter and the news reported, users logging into Twitter were presented with this ominous message:

Change your Twitter password now!

For those that ignored the message, please reconsider and change your password. If you continue to ignore the recommendation, may the force be with you. Why? Because your password has been recorded in clear text and only Twitter knows how many copies and were those log files may exist. They are probably in backups, development servers, and who know where else. They could be breached at a later time and exploited. This is why the recommendation is so important to change them right now.

In fact, change all of your other passwords, tool!

Your Twitter account is not the only potential application impacted by this notification. This same type of flaw, password re-use, was responsible for some of the most devastating breaches in the past several years, like Yahoo. Re-used Yahoo passwords caused identity theft for many individuals and businesses once their email account and password were stolen and threat actors determined that other sites used the same credentials. People got owned and there was no force, outside of changing your passwords, that protected them.

Therefore, there is one additional recommendation on password re-use. If your Twitter account uses the same password as any other account, please go and change all of them now too. Just like Yahoo, once that password finds it out into the wild, every one of those accounts could be in jeopardy too. This is why a security best practice is to keep all of your passwords unique and never re-use them.

Consider managing your enterprise social media account passwords with PowerBroker Password Safe. This will protect your business from these types of problems, and if you are already managing Twitter access today, it would be a good thing to force rotation of these passwords to something unique. Today. May the force be with you and protect all your privileged accounts; especially those online.

Morey Haber, Chief Technology Officer

With more than 20 years of IT industry experience and author of Privileged Attack Vectors, Mr. Haber joined BeyondTrust in 2012 as a part of the eEye Digital Security acquisition. He currently oversees BeyondTrust technology for both vulnerability and privileged access management solutions. In 2004, Mr. Haber joined eEye as the Director of Security Engineering and was responsible for strategic business discussions and vulnerability management architectures in Fortune 500 clients. Prior to eEye, he was a Development Manager for Computer Associates, Inc. (CA), responsible for new product beta cycles and named customer accounts. Mr. Haber began his career as a Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for a government contractor building flight and training simulators. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.