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Twitter mandates lawmakers, journalists to beef up passwords heading into election

Twitter mandates lawmakers, journalists to beef up passwords heading into election

Twitter announced Thursday it will order some political candidates, lawmakers and journalists to strengthen their passwords as the platform looks to allay security concerns heading into Election Day.

The platform said in a blog post that the accounts of members of the executive branch and Congress, governors and secretaries of state, various political candidates and “Major US news outlets and political journalists” will be required to have what Twitter deems to be a strong password.

Users under those categories will begin receiving in-app notifications Thursday that Twitter is turning on “password reset protection” for their account and that they will be required to strengthen their password the next time they log into the platform if their current password is considered too weak.

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“Voters, political candidates, elected officials and journalists rely on Twitter every day to share and find reliable news and information about the election, and we take our responsibility to them seriously," the social media company said in a statement. "As we learn from the experience of past security incidents and implement changes, we’re also focused on keeping high-profile accounts on Twitter safe and secure during the 2020 US election."

Twitter also rolled out other protections it plans to implement “in the coming weeks,” including more sophisticated methods to detect suspicious activity and “increased login defenses.” 

“Implementing these security measures is a critical preventative step, and you will continue to see us introduce new protections and features to help safeguard accounts on Twitter,” the platform said. 

Thursday’s announcement comes after Twitter revealed in July that hackers were able to exploit Twitter employees’ credentials to compromise several high-profile Twitter accounts and post messages promising to double bitcoin payments with a link to a bitcoin wallet, which ultimately received more than $117,000. Among the accounts hacked were those belonging to former President Obama, Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosBlue Origin takes one small step toward being a competitor to SpaceX Democrats question Amazon over reported interference of workers' rights to organize Hillicon Valley: Twitter lacked adequate cybersecurity protection ahead of July hacks, regulator says | Twitter, Facebook clamp down on New York Post article about Hunter Biden | YouTube bans COVID-19 vaccine misinformation MORE and Kim Kardashian WestKimberly (Kim) Noel Kardashian WestTrump grants clemency to five nonviolent offenders Hillicon Valley: Twitter lacked adequate cybersecurity protection ahead of July hacks, regulator says | Twitter, Facebook clamp down on New York Post article about Hunter Biden | YouTube bans COVID-19 vaccine misinformation Twitter lacked adequate cybersecurity protection ahead of July hacks, regulator says MORE

While July’s embarrassing cyberattack did not rely on account passwords, less sophisticated hacks have been centered around gaining access to people’s login credentials.