Twitter Data Breach Nightmare – Millions of Subscriber’s Data Remains at Risk

December 1, 2022

By: Christopher A. Iacono , Rebeca Himena Miller

Takeaway: Hackers cannot be underestimated, and companies need to take cybersecurity policy seriously.

Earlier this year, a massive Twitter data breach occurred. Researchers are learning that the data breach was significantly more severe than initially reported.

In the first reports, one hacker was suspected of exploiting a vulnerability within the system. The vulnerability exposed subscribers’ Twitter IDs, login names, names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

It is now known that several hackers downloaded personal data using the same vulnerability. Reports are showing a new list containing the data of millions of Twitter subscribers. This new list is different from the earlier reported list which contained 5.4 million records. What’s worse is that the 5.4 million record list is currently being shared for free with other hackers. And there is, additionally, a list of 1.4 million subscribers with suspended Twitter accounts whose information is being exploited.

Most websites have data tracking, and the tracking is collected to generate personalized marketing. Women and men usually experience marketing tailored depending on gender. This data can also be sold to governments. And the number of trackers can vary by site. One can expect a retailer to have more tackers than say, for example, a non-profit.

Interestingly, a recent survey found that the number of trackers may also reflect the attitude organizations have towards privacy depending on where you are situated in the world. Websites in Hong Kong have on average 45 trackers, the highest average worldwide. Websites in the United States have on average 33 trackers, the third-highest average. While websites in Canada have on average 16 trackers, the eighth highest average.

Internet users can limit the number of trackers by adjusting their privacy settings, regularly deleting cookies, clearing out their cache, and enabling their browser’s “do not track” feature. Companies, however, must actively participate with their internal cybersecurity and legal departments providing services to ensure that patches are regularly being run, employees are being educated on cybersecurity risks, policies are continuously updated, etc.

Dell regularly produces a survey including 1,000 IT professionals in organizations worldwide for its Data Protection Index. The numbers this year are staggering. Forty-eight percent (48%) of respondents reported that data could not be recovered at their organization after a cybersecurity/data breach incident. This statistic is up thirty-six percent (36%) from the past two previous years. The amount of data that cannot be recovered is disturbing.

The data breach at Twitter is not the exception. With hackers constantly tracking data and looking for vulnerabilities, companies must arm themselves with tools that will mitigate the effects of a cybersecurity incident.

To learn more about the Twitter data breach:

To access Dell’s annual surveys about cyber threats:

* This blog is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel or reach out to any of Pietragallo’s attorneys on any legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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