Today the Associated Press's Twitter account was hacked with the frightening tweet that an explosion had occurred in the White House. It didn't take long for Twitter itself and users to realize the account had been hacked, but not before the tweet caused the stock market to drop over 100 points in the minutes after the tweet was published. While your personal Twitter account may not wield as much influence, social media hackings are real and present their own sets of headaches.
Follow these four steps to protect your Twitter account from falling victim to hackers.
- Don't click on links from strangers — Unfortunately stranger danger is alive and well on the Internet in the form of weird direct messages or tweet replies that direct you to look at a picture of "OMG, is this your new tattoo?!" It's not. Don't click. If an actual Twitter friend sends a message that's a bit off, verify on another platform — SMS or email — if they meant to send the tweet. Chances are their account was hacked, or maybe they just needed to be gently told that they sort of tweet like a spammer.
- Avoid phishing attempts — When signing into Twitter, check that you're on a secure and official log-in page by looking for a URL beginning with "https://" which denotes a safe connection to input username and password.
Read on for password safety tips and how to interact with third-party apps.
- Create unique passwords across accounts — Having a complicated password won't help much when the same one is used across multiple sites. Once hackers get into one account, it's that much easier for them to use the same information and request a password reset of email or Facebook accounts. Use a different password for each web-based account.
- Use third-party apps with caution — In your Twitter account settings, head over to Apps to see which services were previously given permission to integrate with your Twitter account. Revoke access to any you don't use often, or those that actually ask for your password.
For more ways to protect your online accounts, watch as Veronica Belmont shares the secrets behind choosing a secure password.