Twitter does the two-step (authentication) dance

Twitter announced Wednesday that it is offering a form of two-step authentication for security-conscious users who want to make sure that their accounts are protected from unauthorized use. The new feature is described in a post made by Jim O'Leary of Twitter's product security team on the official Twitter blog.

Twitter's two-step authentication process adds a verification code validation that's sent to a mobile phone number by SMS each time you sign in to Twitter. Enter the six-digit code and you're on your way.

This news comes on the heels of high-profile Twitter account hackings of newspapers, news television programs and news services. Victims have included the Financial Times, 60 Minutes, and perhaps most infamously, the Associated Press. The hacked AP account produced a phony tweet saying the White House had been bombed, which set off a brief stock market drop, caused by a reaction from automated stock trading systems that track news keywords.

Many of the recent high-profile Twitter hijackings have been credited to the "Syrian Electronic Army," an anonymous group of hackers loyal to the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad.