May 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM ET
Bad news: Login information for more than 55,000 Twitter accounts was posted by "anonymous hackers" on Tuesday.
Good news: Most of the accounts on that list apparently belong to spammers.
News of data dump was first reported on Airdemon, a blog dedicated to hacking-related topics. It was explained that it took more than five pages on Pastebin — a website on which text can be stored for pre-determined time periods — to fit all the leaked account information and that users should check if their own accounts were compromised.
The folks from Twitter quickly pointed out that there were more than 20,000 duplicate items in the leaked list and that many of the logins appear to belong to accounts suspended for spamming. They added that they're investigating the situation and have forced potentially affected account owners to reset their passwords.
When asked to elaborate on the incident, a Twitter spokesperson provided the following statement — which basically rehashes those details:
We are currently looking into the situation. In the meantime, we have pushed out password resets to accounts that may have been affected. For those who are concerned that their account may have been compromised, we suggest resetting your passwords and more in our Help Center.
It's worth noting that, so far, we've discovered that the list of alleged accounts and passwords found on Pastebin consists of more than 20,000 duplicates, many spam accounts that have already been suspended and many login credentials that do not appear to be linked (that is, the password and username are not actually associated with each other).
So what's the takeaway?
Well, someone leaked a pile of Twitter passwords. We don't know how he or she acquired this information — phishing, hacking, accessing a spammer's secret password stash, or some other method. So all we can really do until there's more information is simply make sure that we regularly change our passwords and use common sense while navigating the good ol' Internet.
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