After suffering a significant outage yesterday, Twitter disclosed late Friday afternoon Pacific time that it had been hacked and the accounts of 250,000 users had been compromised.
“This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later,” the company said in a blog post.
Yesterday’s service outage was not related to the hack, according to the company.
Users whose accounts were affected will receive emails requiring them to reset their passwords, Twitter said.
In its announcement, Twitter alludes to hacking incidents disclosed earlier this week by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but doesn’t specifically say its data breach forms part of the same pattern of attacks, thought to stem from China.
“The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked,” wrote Twitter’s director of information security, Bob Lord.
The company is assisting with a federal investigation of the breach, Lord said.
Users are encouraged to disable Java and to use secure passwords that are not repeated across multiple sites.