Twitter set confusion when it mistakenly asked some of its users to reset their account passwords. As it turned out, the microblogging site locked those users out of their own accounts. It was then that the Website asked for password reset to enable those users to get access to the locked accounts.
In the message sent to the emails of the affected users, Twitter informed them that their accounts may have been compromised. It was blaming a third-party service or online site that is not associated with itself. The same message informs the recipients about the reset passwords to prevent possible access of their accounts by unauthorized parties.
However, as hours went by, it was determined that the problem was not caused by malicious hackers. Insiders disclosed that it was actually brought about by an internal error.
Consequently, Twitter released a statement apologizing over the blunder. In that message, it said that it unintentionally distributed password reset notices on Monday night because of a ‘system error.’
In the same statement, it disclosed that the problem affected just about 1% of total Twitter users. But it also clarified that despite the discovery of the mistake, those affected users whose accounts were locked should still reset or update their password information to be able to regain access to the problematic accounts.
Other cases in the past
This incident is actually not the first time that Twitter committed false alarm. It should be noted that the Website had already suffered a few legitimate breaches. In November 2012, Twitter forced some users to modify their passwords due to suspicions of hacking. But just like what happened recently, it was proven that the passwords were reset despite the fact that the affected accounts were not actually compromised.
Last year, Twitter had identified several attempts by unknown and unauthorized parties to access its system. Its investigation revealed that those unidentified attackers were actually able to gain access to accounts of some 250,000 users. The hackers were able to get private information like usernames, session tokens, email addressed, and passwords.
In those past instances, Twitter had consistently apologized for the inconvenience caused to affected users. Some observers note that the Website has always been honest in admitting its errors. However, the downside of it is that resetting of passwords can never be undone. Affected users have no other choice but to do the reset.