Twitter on password security

With more major brands getting hacked on Twitter, the social network offers up password security advice. But it's not enough.

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Twitter has a hacking problem. This week alone, Burger King and Jeep were taken over by hackers, following a security leak earlier this month that affected about 250,000 users. In response, Twitter has posted "a friendly reminder about password security," suggesting it's up to you/your company to keep your account secure.

The password tips offered by Twitter are nothing new. Use a strong password. Watch out for suspicious links and only login when you're sure you're actually on Twitter.com. Don't give your username and password to unknown third parties. Make sure your system is up-to-date with recent patches, upgrades, and anti-virus software.

These are pretty general best practices, which definitely everyone should follow. A problem for corporate accounts is many people often share the same Twitter account, which means just one compromised computer could let hackers take over.

Passwords vulnerability is a systemic problem, though. The growing hacks on other networks/services--both socially engineered and technical--point out we can't just blame the users, but need to address the problems inherent with the simple username-and-password structure.

[Security is dead. Now what do we do? and The everyday agony of the password]

Today, Twitter announced a new email technology to help users avoid phishing attacks and be sure emails are really from Twitter.com. That's a great security addition.

If Twitter really wants us to be more secure, however, the company needs to implement two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of security when logging in from unknown devices. Facebook and Google both have this, and until Twitter implements it it's hard to expect Twitter hacking to slow down, best practices reminders or not.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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