Alert: Your Twitter Handle Could Be Stolen And Sold

Think your Twitter handle is safe from hackers? Think again. There’s a pretty horrible security flaw that leaves your account vulnerable.

And if you have a snappy, one-word handle, you’re more likely to be on a hacker’s hit list.

Just ask @Blanket.

Buzzfeed reports that “Twitter user Daniel Dennis Jones — @blanket, at the time — received a notification that his Twitter password had been reset,” and then after seeing his name changed and realizing he’d been hacked, he found his beloved @Blanket up for sale – alongside a BUNCH of other names:



Big deal, he must have had an easy password? Not so fast. According to the hacker (a 14-year-old allegedly only doing this for two weeks), Twitter has a vulnerability that makes it SUPER easy to do this.

You can read his Storified conversation with the hacker here, but the gist of it is this: It really doesn’t matter how complex your password is because Twitter isn’t disabling logon attempts based on account, it disables them based on IP address. So as long as they can attempt to log in from different IP addresses (which they can), they can keep trying to log in to your account till they crack it.

Now, sure – they do also say they use “a program that repeatedly attempts to log in with common passwords,” but if they can fake IP addresses and use more advanced password cracking techniques, none of you are safe. None.

So what can you do?

For one, don’t use a weak password – make it at least a LITTLE difficult for them. This strong password generator should help.

Second – add your cell phone number to your twitter (under Settings, Mobile), so you can reset the password from your phone if need be:


And here’s how you reset your password from your cell phone once it’s associated with your account:

Outside of THAT, say a little prayer they don’t come after your account – and that Twitter fixes this vulnerability soon!

Has a hacker ever targeted your account?

(Thief image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.
Publish date: October 1, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT