Twitter Tumbles on Concerns About Hacking Activity

Twitter stocks fell nearly 7 percent on Monday after the company said it was investigating unusual traffic that might be from state-sponsored hackers as well as in what appeared to be an unrelated problem, a security company said hackers used the system to try to steal user data.
Twitter stated in a website that it found suspicious traffic to a customer-support forum while investigating a security bug that exposed information, such as users’ phone country codes and information about locked accounts. It stated the bug was fixed November 16.

Twitter observed a large amount of traffic to the customer care site coming out of individual Internet IP addresses in China and Saudi Arabia.

“While we cannot confirm purpose or attribution for sure, it’s likely that some of those IP addresses might have ties to state-sponsored celebrities,” the blog said.

“We continue to err on the side of full transparency in this region and have updated law enforcement on our findings,” it stated.

A company spokesman declined to elaborate since Twitter shares posted their biggest fall in two or more months.

The Chinese government consistently denies any participation in hacking or other forms of internet attacks and states it is devoted to breaking down on such behavior.

Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated China’s place on internet security and strikes was consistent.

China hopes all sides may deal with this issue through conversations and collaboration on the basis of reciprocal respect, she added.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter blamed the decline on issues that information of a breach could hurt growth and consumer engagement.

“Certainly, a breach such as this impairs user confidence in the platform,” he explained.

Separately, security software manufacturer Trend Micro stated in a site before on Monday that attackers sent out two tweets in October in a bid to steal data from previously infected servers.

The hackers hid directions in tweeted memes that covertly arranged infected apparatus to send data, such as usernames, display images and other content, Trend Micro said.

The Twitter spokesman declined to comment on the Trend Micro report.