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updated 5/9/2012 11:24:24 AM ET 2012-05-09T15:24:24

More than 50,000 Twitter usernames and passwords appeared online in a data dump on Monday, but several signs suggest the leaked credentials belong to spammers.

Twitter spokesman Robert Weeks told CNET  that more than 20,000 of the dumped passwords are duplicates, and many of them are spam accounts that have already been suspended. Weeks also found that many of the usernames and passwords are not associated with each other.

The leaked passwords, first blogged by Airdemon.net, are spread over five Pastebin pages. Of the 11,269 login names and passwords included in the first page  of the leak, nearly every username appears to be a woman's name, and every password is a nonsense series of numbers and letters, indicating they may have been randomly generated, as spam accounts generally are.

More suspicious is that a huge number of the leaked Twitter feeds are "protected," meaning Twitter users have to be approved before the accounts can be followed; few regular Twitter users have protected accounts.

Twitter has not confirmed that the data dump contains only  spam accounts ; in the meantime, Weeks suggests those who are concerned their privacy may be affected should reset their passwords.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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