Popular technology news website TechCrunch plans to publish on Wednesday sensitive internal documents belonging to microblogging site Twitter, including financial projections, sent to them by an unidentified hacker.
TechCrunch reported that a hacker had gained easy access to hundreds of pieces of internal Twitter information -- from pass codes to meeting minutes -- and then forwarded the data to the site en masse.
Twitter, a social networking company that permits users to post Tweets of 140 characters or less, has catapulted to prominence in past months, particularly after it was used by protesters in Iran following a disputed election there.
We are in touch with our legal counsel about what this theft means for Twitter, the hacker, and anyone who accepts and subsequently shares or publishes these stolen documents, Twitter said in an official blog post.
TechCrunch defended its right to make the material public while saying it would exercise restraint on material such as personnel records.
We are going to release some of the documents showing financial projections, product plans and notes from executive strategy meetings, TechCrunch founder and Co-editor Michael Arrington wrote.
We've spent most of the evening reading these documents. The vast majority of them are somewhat embarrassing to various individuals, but not otherwise interesting.
But a few of the documents have so much news value that we think it's appropriate to publish them.
TechCrunch had so far posted a single document, a discussion about a proposed reality television show. Within hours of its posting, hundreds of readers condemned the site for the move.
Obviously Twitter is a very attractive target for hackers or attackers, because of its high profile as a very popular media website, said Joris Evers, a spokesman and security expert at McAfee, which protects against Internet threats.
(Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Richard Chang)