Technology News from the LIS Helpdesk

Email Volumes up 25%, Thanks GDPR!

Analysis of our antispam service system shows a steep rise in email volumes this week. We estimate that we are seeing 25% more email traffic than normal. This appears to be due to a mixture of businesses making one last use of their non-opt in email lists before GDPR and opt-in emails or privacy policy statements. Interestingly even at this late stage there are a significant volume of opt-in email where there is absolutely no need for them to be sent, either due to companies mis-understanding the rules or in a wish to be super-cautious. Privacy policies being issued makes up the balance of the increase but once again of debatable use or interest. We can’t help feeling this was not the intended effect of the new rules!

Twitter Password Change

Twitter have recommended a password change for 330m users because they inadvertently logged them in plain text. Full disclosure is great but it would be better not to make basic errors like this!

LIS recommends you change twitter passwords and remind all staff why passwords should not be used across multiple services.

The twitter email reads like this:

Hi @LIS_Support,

When you set a password for your Twitter account, we use technology that masks it so no one at the company can see it. We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone.

Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password. You can change your Twitter password anytime by going to the password settings page.

About The Bug

We mask passwords through a process called hashing using a function known as bcrypt, which replaces the actual password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in Twitter’s system. This allows our systems to validate your account credentials without revealing your password. This is an industry standard.

Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again.

Tips on Account Security

Again, although we have no reason to believe password information ever left Twitter’s systems or was misused by anyone, there are a few steps you can take to help us keep your account safe:

1. Change your password on Twitter and on any other service where you may have used the same password.
2. Use a strong password that you don’t reuse on other services.
3. Enable login verification, also known as two factor authentication. This is the single best action you can take to increase your account security.
4. Use a password manager to make sure you’re using strong, unique passwords everywhere.

We are very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us, and are committed to earning that trust every day.

Team Twitter