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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacytwitter

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?