Security Experts:

Twitter Taking Steps to Protect Election-Related Accounts

Twitter announced this week that it’s taking steps to protect high-profile accounts during the upcoming election in the United States.

Twitter is reaching out, via an in-app notification, to the owners of accounts associated with government officials, presidential campaigns, political parties, candidates, major news outlets and political journalists.Twitter election alert

The social media giant will inform them about account security measures that will be required or “strongly” recommended.

For example, election-related accounts will be required to use a strong password — those that use a weak password will be forced to change it on the next login.

Twitter is also enabling the password reset protection feature for these accounts. When this setting is enabled, users are required to confirm the email address or phone number before they can reset a password.

The company is also strongly encouraging the use of two-factor authentication (2FA) for high-profile election-related accounts.

Twitter says it also plans on rolling out more sophisticated detection and alerting mechanisms for when suspicious activity is detected, better defenses against account takeover, and expedited account recovery support.

“While we’re requiring some accounts do this given the unique sensitivities of the election period, everyone on Twitter can take advantage of these security measures, (and we encourage them to do so!),” Twitter said in a blog post.

More than 100 Twitter accounts, a majority belonging to high-profile individuals, were hijacked recently after the attackers breached the social media company’s systems. The hackers used social engineering to obtain credentials that ultimately enabled them to access account management tools and take control of the targeted accounts.

Several individuals suspected of being behind the attack were charged two weeks after the incident. Some of them were identified based on the bitcoin transactions they made.

Related: Twitter Alerts Business Users of Billing Information Exposure

Related: Twitter Says Android App Vulnerability Exposed Direct Messages

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.