The company did not reveal how many users' passwords were stored in the text, but recent data shows that their average monthly user count reaches upwards of 336 million accounts worldwide. "We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again", Twitter's Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal wrote in a blog post.
The bug caused the passwords to be stored on an internal computer log before the hashing process was completed. The company advised all users to change the passwords to their Twitter accounts as they are no longer safe to use.
Still, the password-change recommendation stoked privacy concerns, momentarily rattled investors, and offered another reminder to the digital-communications industry that it faces intense scrutiny over the storage and protection of personal data online.
Change your password on Twitter and on any other service where you may have used the same password. In this, the actual password is replaced with set of numbers, letters, which are then stored in the Twitter system.
The passwords should have been put through a procedure called "hashing" making them very hard to read.
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Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, explained in a Tweet that the passwords had been stored on an internal computer log before measures that were meant to prevent staff from seeing the passwords had taken effect. The problem here is that Twitter had an internal log where all user passwords were written and this opens up potential for misuse, both from outside and within the company.
Twitter discovered the bug a few weeks ago.
It added that there was "no indication" that the details had been misused but warned users to update their login information as a precaution.
The website was not hacked, according to Twitter. Click on this button and your Twitter account will now be using the new password.
The company also suggests widely recommended security tips, like turning on two-factor authentication, choosing unique passwords for every service, and using a password manager app to store them all.