Recently, Facebook helped the State Department discover the activities of Iranian hackers that had compromised the email and social media accounts of government officials. This was a result of a new feature the social network added in October to alert Facebook users to state-sponsored attacks that may have targeted their accounts.
Twitter has introduced a similar notifications system, it seems. According to the Guardian, the company emailed more than 20 users with a notice saying their Twitter accounts were among “a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors.” A Canadian nonprofit called Coldhak posted the letter in full on Twitter:
The emails did not point to any suspects and claimed that no account information was actually stolen. One of Coldhak’s founding directors told Reuters that there was “no noticeable impact of this attack.”
Twitter’s suggestion that users turn to Tor, a tool to stay anonymous on the Internet, was met with some criticism. In the past, Tor users have found that Twitter has mistaken their accounts for spam and blocked them. The Guardian notes that to retrieve a blocked account, users must provide a phone number–an identifier that was included in Twitter’s list of information that may have been compromised.