China May (or May Not) Be Behind the Twitter Hack

Connor Simpson

You may not have heard, but roughly 250,000 Twitter accounts may have been compromised by hackers. There's a theory that -- if you read between the lines -- Twitter is implying the Chinese are to blame for compromising their security. 

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Twitter revealed that roughly a quarter million accounts may have been compromised by hackers in a blog post Friday evening. (A classic Friday evening news dump if there ever was one; they got a $10 billion valuation the same day.) 

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Bandits might have made away with "usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users." They think. A Twitter representative stressed to the Verge that they're still investigating; there's a chance we're all safe. 

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But was China behind it all?! That's an emerging theory. We don't know who was behind it. Twitter doesn't say directly. None of the usual suspects have claimed ownership of the attack. (Yet.)

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But Twitter mentions the New York Times and Wall Street Journal hacks in their opening paragraph, apropos of nothing, really. It could mean the company was just trying to show they're not alone in being targeted -- look at these bullies picking on these other kids, too. Or it could mean they're subtly implying China is behind it all. 

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The last paragraph in Twitter's statement is where the theory really gets its legs. Emphasis ours: 

This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users. 

So, did they do it? These sophisticated hackers who targeted other companies and organizations sure sounds like they're implying it was China.

Was it China in the basement with the Cheetos and Red Bull and impressive coding skill? We don't know for sure, but we're definitely looking for any and every clue we can find.