Technology

Don’t Worry, Twitter Users: Two-Step Authentication is Coming Soon

After a high-profile incident on Tuesday involving a wire service and a decline in the stock market, Twitter revealed it would provide more security options to brands and end users shortly.

From Burger King to CBS, Twitter brand hacks have been in the news pretty heavily in recent weeks.

But it took a single tweet sending the stock market into a momentary free fall for Twitter to reveal that it was getting more serious about security.

More details on the matter:

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The tweet in question: On Tuesday afternoon, a questionable tweet was posted on the Associated Press’s official Twitter account, announcing that President Barack Obama had been injured in a bombing attack on the White House. While the tweet did not follow the AP’s official style, it nonetheless sent shock waves through the stock market, causing a brief 100-point decline on the Dow Jones industrial average, though the market bounced back after it was revealed to be a hoax perpetrated by the Syrian Electronic Army that involved a phishing scam. The account went back up Wednesday morning after the company’s Eric Carvin, who edits the AP’s social media presence, announced the account had been re-secured.

The reaction from Twitter: Hours after the hack was announced, Wired journalist Mat Honan revealed that Twitter is not only acutely aware of the security issues its users face, but is working on launching a much-requested two-step authentication feature. The feature, which is available on most social networks and email platforms (most notably Google and Dropbox), tethers passwords to mobile phones, giving users an extra layer of security in case of unauthorized access. The process raises a point of complication for brands on Twitter, however. “One interesting wrinkle with two-step and Twitter is that many of the accounts most prone to hacking have multiple, sometimes very many, users who use a variety of applications,” Honan explains. “Which means that any solution is likely going to have to support multiple devices, and multiple apps.” Honan himself could have used such a solution—last year, his digital life was essentially erased by a brutal hacking affair that affected his Twitter account, iPhone, laptop, Amazon account, Gmail account, and a number of other aspects of his digital life. It was a cautionary tale far scarier than the AP’s somewhat more subtle hack.

The feature is expected to reach end users later this year, but until then, check out our tips on securing your social media accounts.

(iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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