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By 15 March 2011 | Categories: news

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According to The Register, micro-blogging website Twitter has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints that it hasn't done enough to ensure user privacy, allowing two successful attacks against the site in 2009.

According to the settlement's rules, Twitter will have to establish a more comprehensive information security policy. This policy will be independently audited every two years at the site's expense. Breaches to the FTC agreement will also result in fines of up to $16 000 per violation.

The agreement is the result of a string of attacks on the site between January and May 2009, resulting in hackers gaining administrative control over Twitter. They were then able to send out tweets under false and assumed names as well as accessing the privacy features of users.

The attacks especially gained notoriety when hackers hijacked the accounts of current US president Barrack Obama as well as singer Britney Spears. Some of the messages that were falsely posted included that Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly was gay, as well as a more explicit message falsely posted on Spears’ account.

A later hack in April that year allowed hackers to view the account settings for some of Twitter's most popular users, finding for example that Barack Obama had blocked 96 Twitter users at the time. 

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