The microblogging website Twitter has fallen victim to a cyberattack, according to a company security official. Earlier in the week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported similar attacks by hackers.
Twitter revealed on Friday that anonymous hackers had attacked some 250,000 user accounts, accessing passwords and email address as well as other information.
In a blog post, Twitter's information security director, Bob Lord, said that the company had detected unauthorized attempts to access user data earlier in the week and stopped one live cyberattack in the process.
"This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident," Lord wrote in his blog post. "The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked."
Lord went on to say that Twitter had reset the passwords of the hacked accounts as a precautionary measure and was in the process of informing the affected users via email. Twitter has 200 million active users monthly.
Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said that the company could not speculate on the origin of the attack, as the investigation was ongoing.
Media giants targeted by hackers
Earlier in the week, The New York Times reported that its computer system had been attacked and that the passwords of every one of its employees had been stolen. Mandiant, the security firm hired by The Times to investigate the attack, said that the hackers used tactics similar to previous attacks traced back to China.
The cyberattack reportedly coincided with The Times' publication of an expose revealing that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's family had earned billions of dollars in business deals.
A day after The Times reported the cyberattack, The Wall Street Journal revealed that it had also been hacked, possibly by China. According to The Journal, the hackers sought to monitor the newspaper's China coverage.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed the allegations as "groundless," saying that national law prohibits cyberattacks.
slk/jlw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)