There is a new story doing the round about how Twitter found that it had stored user’s password in the clear in an internal log. Whilst reading it, I got this email from Twitter:
While this isn’t the first time a big company has done this (Github for one also did this), it seems unbelievable that a big company like Twitter would get itself caught out by this basic, common sense security practice. Pretty much every YouTube video and article about correctly handling passwords will tell you not to store them in the clear and only store them as hashes (with salts, preferably). Hashing algorithms are meant to be really difficult or impossible to reverse, meaning you can’t (easily) use the hashes to determine the original passwords.
Some examples from a quick YouTube search — Tom Scott’s video’s really good btw :), although is comment about “using login using Twitter and let them store your password for you” is a bit ironic :P
The fact that Twitter has our unencrypted passwords on disk… does this mean Twitter has been saving our original passwords before hashing them?
More to the point – whilst Twitter are quick to point out that no-one at the company can see the masked password, they don’t mention who has (or had) access to the unmasked passwords in the internal log. Or for how long…
Twitter users who had their accounts on private may not have been as private as they initially thought….