clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Twitter wants you to change your password right now

Twitter is calling for all of its users to change their passwords following a major bug.

Twitter. Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

It’s time to change your Twitter password.

In a blog post on Thursday, Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal revealed that Twitter “recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone.”

But, he added, “[o]ut of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password. You can change your Twitter password anytime by going to the password settings page.”

Here’s the technical explanation for the glitch:

We mask passwords through a process called hashing using a function known as bcrypt, which replaces the actual password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in Twitter’s system. This allows our systems to validate your account credentials without revealing your password. This is an industry standard.

Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again.

The blog post did not clarify how many of Twitter’s 330 million users were affected by the bug.

Agrawal also provided some tips on account security, including using different passwords for different services, using two-factor authentication, and using password managers.

Another tip: Check how many outside applications have access to your Twitter account — each of which is another potential avenue to breach your account. You may be surprised.

Twitter followed up on the blog post with a direct notification to its users:

A notification to Twitter users about the password security problems. Twitter

Twitter is far from alone in having security problems. A 2013 data breach at Yahoo exposed the names, email addresses, and passwords for all of its 3 billion accounts.

Twitter said that it has no reason to believe anything like that happened on its end. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Go change your password.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.