Skype Twitter Account Hacked, Group Posts Anti-Microsoft Sentiments


It looks like 2014 is off to a series of hacks, with our report earlier claiming that Snapchat was hacked, compromising some 4.6 million user names and phone numbers in the process, and now it looks like Microsoft’s Skype Twitter and Facebook accounts have been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, who have in the past successfully hacked Twitter, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post just to name a few. The group took the opportunity to tweet out some anti-Microsoft sentiments, and advised the followers to stop using Microsoft’s services due to monitoring, which we can only assume has to be related to the recent bout of accusations leveled at the NSA.

According to the tweet, “Don’t use Microsoft emails(hotmail,outlook), they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon #SEA.” The tweets have since been deleted which we can only assume means that Microsoft has managed to regain control of their accounts. Thankfully unlike the Snapchat hack, this was only the hack of Microsoft’s Twitter and Facebook pages, meaning that as far as user information is concerned, it appears to be still intact. Microsoft has yet to respond to the hack.

Source: Ubergizmo


Twitter Appears To Be Exploring Personalized Breaking News Notifications With @Eventparrot Experiment


Twitter appears to be exploring introducing breaking news notifications tuned for you to its apps, if a new experimental account is any indication. An account called @eventparrot has garnered around 1,500 followers and promises to deliver ‘direct messages that help you keep up with what’s happening in the world’.

I received my first message from the account this evening, a repackaged tweet from CNN breaking news about rebels kidnapping Libya’s prime minister:


The account looks nearly identical in makeup to the @magicrecs account that spawned Twitter’s recent addition of push recommendations for follow suggestions and ‘interesting tweets’. That account also started out with the profile text ‘this is a Twitter experiment’, and was later folded into Twitter’s products after it garnered a lot of positive responses on Twitter at large.

It’s impossible to tell whether the account is an ‘official Twitter experiment’ as the company does not comment on experiments it runs. But the account has all of the earmarks of an experiment in delivering a personalized set of breaking news alerts that are determined by an algorithm to be actually useful to you. All of the earliest followers are Twitter employees, which isn’t too surprising as they tend to dogfood new experiments in some cases. 


For now you’ll have to forgive me for hedging my bets on this being something Twitter is actually responsible for, but I believe that it is. All of the earmarks are there. I’m also jumping to conclusions a bit about where Twitter might take this as it is just an experiment. So, if it’s not successful or doesn’t meet with the acclaim of @magicrecs, it might go nowhere.

But, if it’s successful, then twitter might roll out news notifications that have the same kind of personal ‘magical thrill’ that an account follow recommendation from @magicrecs has. In my piece on it last week I noted that Twitter appears to be working hard to create a reason for individuals to feel that the service is tailored to them specifically. This new @eventparrot experiment could be another step in that direction, which is a good thing.

Twitter is still very much trying to figure out how to balance its need to make money with a need to both attract and retain new users. I personally feel that the tapering user growth numbers that we saw in Twitter’s S-1 are a direct result of it focusing too much on bringing outside media in to Twitter, rather than Twitter itself being the source of media.  If people see Twitter as just another place that they can see the same video clips and pictures that they’ve seen elsewhere, there is no motivation to make Twitter a part of their daily lives. If, however, people see that Twitter is using its data to break news that matters to them personally,  and to deliver media created specifically for the service — that’s what will bring the retention.

I’ll be watching @eventparrot closely to see how it shapes up. Ironically, or perhaps not so much, I was notified of the new experimental account via @magicrecs.

Source: Tech Crunch

Has Your Twitter Account Been Hacked?

A quarter of a million users may have had their passwords and email addresses stolen from the social networking site. Here’s what to do if you are one of them.

If you are one of the 250,000 to have had their accounts hacked, you will have been sent, or will shortly be sent, an email from Twitter asking you to create a new password.

Follow the instructions in the email to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to the social networking site.

Twitter has advised all users to “ensure they are following good password hygiene” – not only on the social networking site but also elsewhere on the internet.

Their advice is as follows:

“Make sure you use a strong password – at least 10 (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper- and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols – that you are not using for any other accounts or sites. Using the same password for multiple online accounts significantly increases your odds of being compromised.”

It goes on:

“If you are not using good password hygiene, take a moment now to change your Twitter passwords. For more information about making your Twitter and other internet accounts more secure, read our Help Center documentation or the FTC’s guide on passwords.”

“We also echo the advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and security experts to encourage users to disable Java on their computers in their browsers. For instructions on how to disable Java, read this Slate article.”

Be warned: the company has also said they do not believe the attack was an isolated incident. Twitter said the hackers were “extremely sophisticated” and it believes other websites will have been similarly attacked.

But some experts have warned that the hack could lead to new “phishing” scams.

As Twitter users now know to be on the lookout for emails asking them to change their passwords, criminals could send out similar messages.

If users click on the links in those they risk having their account hacked. Experts advise not to clink on links in emails asking you to change your password.

Instead, go directly to the website, log in normally, and change it using the instructions.

Source: The Telegraph

US Library of Congress Saving 500 Million Tweets Per Day in Archives

The U.S. Library of Congress is now storing 500 million tweets per day as part of its efforts to build a Twitter archive, and has added a total of about 170 billion tweets to its collection.

Twitter signed an agreement in April 2010 to provide the library with an archive of every public tweet since the company went live in 2006, and the Library of Congress recently provided an update on its progress. The initial stage of the project, which includes a complete copy of all tweets covering that four-year span, will be finished by the end of the month.

The project is now shifting its focus to making the collection accessible to lawmakers and researchers. The library has permission from Twitter to share the tweets with vetted researchers at least six months after they were published, provided they are not used for profit or redistributed.

“It is clear that technology to allow for scholarship access to large data sets is lagging behind technology for creating and distributing such data,” the library noted in a public document about its progress.

The library said the initial four-year archive contained about 21 billion tweets that take up 20 terabytes when uncompressed, including data fields. It continues to receive and process messages from Twitter, which are now organized into files representing hour-long segments by Gnip, a service provider with which Twitter also partnered in 2010 to provide commercial access to the full range of tweets.

The full archive now requires 133.2 terabytes for two compressed copies, which are stored on tape in separate locations for safe keeping.

The library said it has already received 400 inquires from researchers for access to the archives, for research topics including citizen journalism, vaccination rates and stock market trends.

The library said it already maintains similar collections, such as an archive of web sites related to government and policy matters that is over 300 terabytes in size.

The government library’s collection includes over 34.5 million books and 66.6 million manuscripts. It is officially the working library of the U.S. Congress, but also serves as a national archive of written works for the country.

Source: Network World

Infographic Reveals Users Average Amount of Time Spent on Social Networks Each Month

The law firm Morrison and Foerster’s Socially Aware Blog have managed to gather the relevant data on how much time one spends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking websites.

Google+ gets about 100 million active users per month, while Facebook comes in at an impression 1 billion. This data has been translated into how many hours these networks are used.

It seems that the average user on a monthly basis spends close to 7 hours on Facebook, and a rather meager 3 minutes on Google+. Interestingly though it seems that their data has revealed that on average users spend only 21 minutes a month on Twitter.

Source: Ubergizmo