Twitter is stepping up security after hackers sent a single false tweet from hackers sent the stock market tumbling earlier this week, but experts say it won’t fully prevent future problems.
Twitter unveiled plans to add a two-step authentication process, which typically requires a user to type in their password and a special code sent to a cell phone or other designated device before they can access their account.
Purdue Professor Dr. Samuel Liles, who specializes in cyber crime and computer forensics, says the extra measures are designed to combat the problem posed by hackers, who have had great success with phishing scams that contain malware passed from person to person.
“If I sent you an email that came from your mom or your dad or your brother or your sister or somebody you knew, that looked exactly like what they would send you, you’re going to do it,” Liles said. “So you’re not dumb, you’re just a human being.”
Though the phishing scams might seem like nothing more than an inconvenience, Liles says they are used to collect large amounts of passwords and personal information, which can lead to bigger hacks such as the one involving the Associated Press Twitter account on Tuesday.
Hackers sent out a single, false tweet, which claimed the White House had been bombed and President Obama had been injured.
“The tiny hack caused huge effects,” Liles said.
Though the Tweet was corrected in seconds, it sent the stock market into a flash crash. The Dow lost 143 points before recovering a few minutes later.
“People say, well then it bounced back. What they don’t understand is that a lot of money changed hands and a lot of people lost money and a lot of people gained money,” Liles said.
A group called the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the attack, and Liles says it won’t be the last. He the most important thing users and companies will need to learn, is how to respond quickly when it happens next time.
“Resiliency, you know, building things in so that if you do (get hacked) you can recover,” he said.
Liles says it’s important to frequently monitor your accounts and keep your computers clean with anti-virus software. He also says it’s very important to back up critical data, and keep an eye out for anything that appears to be suspicious.