I am furious! After installing this plugin my previously secure account was not only hacked and filled with spam posts but I have lost access to it completely! This can’t be a mere coincidence. While I am sure (hopeful) that you are not the one hacking my account, if you are writing a plugin to extract secure data which you promise noone can see, and we are trusting you with this data, then it needs to be coded to be genuinely secure and not just a false promise. This is the first time I have ever put my Twitter password into a third party program and will not do so again. I will try and clean up this mess now I guess though Twitter is not that great at reinstating accounts when the hackers have changed my e-mail, password and phone number.
“WordPress version: 2.9”
Is that accurate information? That’s the WordPress version you are currently using?
I am furious!
I’m very sorry to hear that.
After installing this plugin my previously secure account was not only hacked and filled with spam posts but I have lost access to it completely!
Have you considered posting a support request? You may have been hacked but it may not have had anything to do with this plugin.
While I hesitantly agree that it could be a case of unfortunate timing I think my data being extracted is unlikely to be caused by anything else than this plugin. I’m not quick to jump the gun and throw blame around I spent a good deal of time retracing my steps and checking how in the world this could have happened. My logic is as follows: 1. My Twitter account never had a problem before my installation of the plugin. 2. After I installed the plugin my account was taken over on the same day. 3. My mac is virus and trojan free and if it (or my browsers) did have some sort of malware on it surely other accounts of mine would be compromised too not just Twitter. 4. I don’t have Twitter installed on my mobile so didn’t connect to Twitter from anywhere else except my usual home network connection and from the computer I always do.
Again I am not saying this plugin is malware. Just that it is not secure.
What do you mean by ‘support request’? Do you mean on Twitter? Because I have sent them a support request and tried to reinstate my account but due to a glaring hole in Twitter’s reactivation procedure I can’t, because to reactivate you must use the e-mail address associated with your account, which for some unfathomable reason they allowed the hacker (bot) to change within Twitter without even sending me an e-mail to make sure I wanted to change my address. Their response is “sign up and make a new account”. Fuming.
I appreciate how frustrating your situation is and am sorry that you feel our plugin is the culprit. Our plugin only has the ability to request public data and does not have permission to write to your account.
The plugin forwards you to the official Twitter website where you login using your username/password, this is something you do normally anyway. At no point do we have, or get access to your username/password.
Once you login to Twitter they forward you back to us with a unique token, which gives your website the ability to request publicly available data from your account. At no point could anything be posted to your account or private information requested.
When creating the Twitter App, which you gave permission to access your account, I was careful to only request the permissions required (publicly available information), so as to avoid the possibility of issues similar to this.
The security of your account and your rights are very important to me, and I have taken great lengths to avoid problems and where possible reduce the chance or potential for issues to occur.
If you have any more concerns of questions about how the plugin interacts with your account I am happy to address them.
What do you mean by ‘support request’?
I mean try posting to this plugin’s dedicated support sub-forum.
As Peter’s indicated he’s willing to address questions related to this plugin.
Thanks for your explanation Peter, I am sure you will have taken security into consideration when writing this plugin. I think though that it is a bit flippant to insinuate that no third party access occurred during the connection to my account with your plugin. When something changes you ask yourself “what did I do differently to cause this change?” What I did differently the day I was locked out of my account is install your plugin and allow it permission to post my tweets. (It’s the only thing I have done differently with my Twitter account in months.) Probability-wise it would be a bit weird if it were unrelated no? Some third party getting in between us through no fault of your own or something like that perhaps… however that doesn’t change my feeling that this plugin is not secure and thus my review is unfavourable. I respect you for responding though.
Ah, I see Jan. Thanks. I don’t need plugin support though, I no longer even have a Twitter account to connect to after this. I need Twitter’s support and this is just my review of my experience with this plugin. I don’t expect the writer of this widget to reinstate my account, it is no longer in his hands.
Answering posts related to security concerns is the least I can do, I understand how stressful and frustrating a time it can be.
The comments were not made flippantly, but from an understanding of exactly how the plugin interacts with Twitter. When you are forwarded to Twitter to give permission to my Twitter App it displays these messages:
This application will be able to:
- Read Tweets from your timeline.
- See who you follow.
This application will not be able to:
- Follow new people.
- Update your profile.
- Post Tweets for you.
- Access your direct messages.
- See your Twitter password.
The important take home message from this, is that even if I wanted to abuse the plugin myself I would not be capable of doing what happened to your account with the access the plugin is granted. At no point does the plugin have the ability to edit/add information to your Twitter account, and the only pieces of information it can fetch are publicly available.
This also means that any third party which got in-between would similarly be incapable of performing the acts which were done to your account. This is the main reason I made sure the Twitter App permissions were so specific and only included public information.
You may want to look further afield for issues just to be safe, the Twitter website will send an email to your old email account if the email address is changed, so if you see no email it could be that your email account is compromised too (and they deleted the email from Twitter notifying you the address had been changed).
I am genuinely sorry for the loss of your Twitter account and the stress attempting to fix it has caused you. I hope you manage to re-claim your account.
Thanks. I changed my e-mail on everything just in case.
I think what would be wonderful is if you would consider writing an option into your app where you do not need to log in at all. I mean if Twitter posts are public anyway why can the system not just pull the tweets off a profile page without needing to sign in?
That is good, hopefully you won’t have more problems.
Unfortunately, there is no other way to (officially) obtain twitter data at the moment. Last year Twitter closed v1 of their API which included many easy methods of obtaining Tweet data without authentication. This leaves the v1.1 API which requires oAuth for any interaction, including publicly available information.
I actually created this plugin to simplify what is a rather overly complex system (oAuth). Luckily, the only major downside to oAuth is its complexity, it does a great job of allowing users to grant permission to access their accounts and perform certain actions without giving their username and password to third parties.
As you mention, there are various ‘hacky’ ways of obtaining the public data, like scraping them from the Twitter profile page, but these are prone to breaking (if Twitter change the html structure of the page, etc) and are more resource intensive to fetch. These would be prone to errors and much more difficult to maintain.
Many other Twitter plugins require the user to create their own Twitter App and manually enter the oAuth credentials into the plugin themselves. To me this seems like making the task unreasonably complex to the user, however it might be something you are more comfortable with.
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