Twitter warns Android users about potential account takeovers; patch available

Twitter today began emailing Android users about a security issue that could have compromised their account. Users are urged to download the latest version of Twitter for Android as soon as possible.

“We recently fixed an issue that could have compromised your account,” reads the email notice.

The company links to a blog post with details about the vulnerability, what it could lead to – if exploited correctly – and the steps users can take to secure their account.

The vulnerability in question only affects Android clients (not iOS). Through a complicated process involving the insertion of malicious code into restricted storage areas of the app, a motivated bad actor could exploit the bug to “see nonpublic account information or to control your account”. If someone were to find and exploit the vulnerability, Twitter says it may have been possible for them to send Tweets or Direct Messages, access the user’s DM conversations and protected Tweets, as well as access location information from the app, according to the advisory.

The company hasn’t found evidence that the flaw has been exploited in the wild, but is nonetheless warning users of this issue out of an abundance of caution.

“We don’t have evidence that malicious code was inserted into the app or that this vulnerability was exploited, but we can’t be completely sure so we are taking extra caution,” Twitter says,

The latest versions of Android contain a patch for the issue. According to Twitter Support, version 7.93.4 (released last month for KitKat) and version 8.18 (released in October for Lollipop and newer) already have this bug fixed. This suggests Twitter has been aware of the flaw for a while but held off the announcement to make sure enough people had new versions installed before the issue was made public.

“Please update to the latest version of Twitter for Android as soon as possible to make sure your account is secure,” the company says. “We’re sorry this happened and will continue working to keep your information secure on Twitter.”

In accordance with data protection laws, Twitter tells users they can reach out to the company’s Office of Data Protection to request information regarding their account security. Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Twitter is obliged to respond to this request in 30 days or less.

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