Buffer encrypts access tokens after spammer hack

Buffer said it is now encrypting OAuth access tokens and added a security parameter to its API calls
  • Jeremy Kirk (IDG News Service)
  • — 28 October, 2013 01:06

Buffer, a service for scheduling social media posts, said Sunday it has strengthened its security after spammers gained access to its network.

On Saturday, Buffer halted all social media postings after a raft of spam coming from Buffer accounts hit Facebook and Twitter. Later that day, service was restored, but Buffer advised users to access their accounts from its main URL rather than from its mobile applications.

Buffer, based in San Francisco, said on Sunday it is encrypting OAuth access tokens, which allow users to grant another application access to a service without revealing their password. Buffer also added a new security parameter to its API (applications programming interface) calls.

"We have greatly increased security of how we are posting to Twitter and Facebook and have confidence to cover the security holes the hackers have used to break into our system," wrote Joel Gascoigne, Buffer's founder.

Facebook said 30,000 Buffer users who had accounts on its service had spam issues, which is about 6.3 percent of the 476,343 Facebook accounts that are connected to Buffer, Gascoigne wrote. Buffer users will need to reconnect their Twitter accounts but not their Facebook ones. Posts that were scheduled to be published on Facebook during the outage will need to be resent.

Gascoigne wrote he expects Buffer to publish a more detailed update on the hack later.

"We're working with several security experts on tracking down exactly how it was possible for the spammers to get into our system," he wrote. "We're making good progress on this, this morning."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Tags: Internet-based applications and services, security, Buffer, data breach, twitter, social networking, internet, social media, data protection, Facebook

Today's Approach to Security is Broken

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Comments are now closed.
CSO Corporate Partners
  • Webroot
  • Trend Micro
  • NetIQ
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to CSO, invitation only events, reports & analysis.
CSO Directory

Cloud Trust Authority

Reduce complexity and increase trust for public cloud service providers and their customers.

Latest Jobs
Security Awareness Tip

Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).


  1. Have an incident response plan.

  2. Pre-define your incident response team 

  3. Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.

  4. Pre-distribute call cards.

  5. Forensic and incident response data capture.

  6. Get your users on-side.

  7. Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement. 

  8. Practice makes perfect.

For the full breakdown on this article

Security ABC Guides

Warning: Tips for secure mobile holiday shopping

I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.