Twitter Hacking Triggers Data Leak

Crisis communication is one of the things that public relations practitioners fear most, but also one of the things they are prepared to deal with.

2012 was a hectic year for those in public relations trying to manage crisis situations dealing with companies from Susan G. Komen’s controversy to Papa John’s Obamacare issue.

But 2013 looks like more of the same. One month into the new year, we have already seen problems developing affecting different companies and celebrities.

On Feb. 1, Twitter announced that the site had been compromised and that data for almost 250,000 Twitter users was vulnerable.


According to Bits Blog of the New York Times, the company later said in a blog post that it had detected unusual access patterns, making them realize that the users’ information may have been stolen. Twitter’s spokesman, Jim Prosser, said they had used Java to infiltrate their system.

Homeland Security later advised Twitter to disable Java from their computers and suggested the same for users too. Even though Java has already patched the security hole, they said preparation is the easiest way to prevent a problem from happening.

The information that might have been compromised contains users’ email addresses and passwords. And although Twitter asked users not to panic since passwords are encrypted, making it harder (but not impossible) for hackers to figure out, they immediately warned those who might have been affected to change their passwords.

Notice warning Twitter users of possible hacked accounts

Notice warning Twitter users of possible hacked accounts

Twitter is currently working with Homeland Security to track down the possible hackers and let’s hope the company keeps users up to date on the issue.

In an article appearing in┬áRagan’s PR Daily they advise PR professionals to stay calm during a crisis, share the information with others in the field and company, and to always trust your skills.

Do you think this was a good thing for Twitter to do? Do you think the company could have approached the problem differently?

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