Twitter issued an alert to some of its users warning them that state-sponsored hackers might have tried to obtain sensitive data from their accounts, says a report from Reuters. This is the first such warning from the micro-blogging site.

Twitter DM

Not much detail available

Twitter mentioned in the notice that a small group of accounts was targeted, but there was no indication that the hackers actually obtained sensitive information. The micro-blogging firm did not give any additional information regarding the attack or who it suspects to be behind it.

On Friday, Coldhak – a Winnipeg-based non-profit organization – noted that it had received a warning from Twitter. In a statement to Reuters, Colin Childs, who is one of the founding directors of Coldhak, said there was no noticeable impact of the attack. There were no indications from Coldhak and the other users why they were targeted by the attacks.

In the notice, the micro-blogging firm informed that the attackers might have been making attempts to obtain information such as “email addresses, IP addresses, and/or phone numbers.”

This alert from Twitter highlights the growing number of cyber-attacks by state-sponsored organizations. Government agencies, businesses and media all have been victims of hacking. Tech news site Motherboard and the Financial Times were the first to report about Twitter’s warning.

Twitter offering safety tips

Determined attackers might find social media accounts a lucrative source for data, and therefore, the attacks are a matter of concern. Access to dozens of other accounts can be gained via just one account, and this can open up lines of communication between people in a particular field or network.

Twitter is concerned about its users, and has offered them the suggestion of using Tor to reduce their worries regarding their personal information getting out. Tor is a free software that helps in enabling anonymous communication and conceals the location and usage of a particular user from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. The software directs internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network to protect the communication.

Google and Facebook have also started issuing warnings to users possibly targeted by the state-sponsored attacks. The alert system helped the feds to find out about those attacks as reported in a recent story in New York Times.