5 Essential Tips to keep your twitter account secure
It can happen to anyone.
An accidental click on a link, downloading what seemed like a harmless template, or logging in to what you thought was a genuine website, can be all it takes to pass on your Twitter login details to someone.
If you haven’t already had your Twitter account hacked, you’re one of them few. Almost everyone gets hacked at some time on Twitter.
I have, and I didn’t even notice.
It wasn’t until one of my friends told me that I had been sending them a number of very odd direct messages, that I was even aware I had been.
It turned out that my account had been doing this for a few days, so I had messaged quite a lot of people.
The worry, of course, was that it is fair to assume that many people who followed me were not so familiar with my tweeting habits and they’d simply unfollow, or mark my account as spam.
Having this happen to you could be enough to get you locked out of your account. Which is incredibly frustrating, after all the effort you’d put in to build your following.
We always think of hackers like in the movies.
These quasi mystical people who sit in darkened rooms, breaking into sophisticated high security systems with just a few key strokes, through an undetected ‘back door’.
The truth is:
The reality is much more mundane.
We’re all creatures of habit and despite our best efforts most hackers gain access to our sensitive information through our own complacency.
To make a point:
The fact that 123456 has been the most popular password for the last 3 years in the Splashdata survey says all you need to know.
So here are 5 essential tips to keep your twitter account secure
5 Essential tips to better protect your Twitter account
Create a strong password and change it regularly
Pass phrases can be a better way to secure your account that just a regular password.
Let’s say you’re a massive The Police fan and from the memorable;
“Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon. I hope my legs don’t break”
You could get the password gsawytwotmihmldb from the first letter of each word.
This is more secure.
Now add some capitals and some numbers and you have a strong password that’s memorable for you, but much more difficult for someone to crack.
It’s also a great idea to change your password regularly. Every 4-6 weeks in good practice.
Two step all the way
Having a secure password is a great first step, but nowadays you can easily add an optional feature in Twitter to ensure greater security.
Twitter provides a 2 step verification to ensure that only you can access your account.
With this, when you go to log into your account – Twitter will text you a verification code to your phone. This you then use to access your account.
There’s no real downside to this and it’s easy to set up.
Be aware of shortened links
Until Twitter recently changed its character rules, we favoured shortened urls to enable us to squeeze more out of those 140 characters.
Even with the new changes that pattern is unlikely to break, with most social management systems still using their own, or another link shortening system e.g. Bitly, Owly etc.
Why is this important?
Because without being able to see the full url, you can have no real confidence in where it going to take you.
A re-tweeted link from a major brand may look legit, but if someone has modified the url to go to an impostor site that looks like the real thing you’ll never know.
Making it easy to capture your personal information or install malware on your computer or phone.
Be aware of third-party apps.
How many apps on your phone have you given access to your Twitter account?
How many websites have you logged into using your Twitter account?
Doing so gives those apps and website limited access to your Twitter account. And this widens the net of approaches someone could use to access your Twitter account.
Never grant a third party app or system access to your Twitter account, unless you trust the source and that you can easily verify that it’s actually created by that specific Company.
By the way:
It’s also a good idea to regularly go through your apps list, to see what currently has access to your Twitter account. Then delete those that you no longer use, or the Company is no longer in business.
They soon build up:
I was shocked just checking my list for this article. I had to scroll…a lot!
Don’t get hooked by Phishing.
The most common method used by hackers to access your information is to build clone website or pages.
By building a clone page that looks exactly like Twitter’s and sending you there, it is easy for someone to capture your login information.
It’s a really easy trick to pull and very effective.
But there’s more:
A simple method of getting you to their page is by sending you an email posing as Twitter and including a link to the site.
It’s easy to do:
You could get an email telling you what is trending, or a news story that is breaking on Twitter. If you’re interested, you’ll probably hit the link and log in. And just like that your login details have been captured.
Don’t fall for these. As we have previously mentioned, make sure to check links and that they are directing you where you expect to go.
To sum up, we have highlighted just 5 ways that you can better protect your Twitter account. Although these steps cannot guarantee that your account will be 100% secure, they can make it more difficult for your account to be hacked.
Make sure you:
- Create a strong password & change it regularly
- Use two step authentication
- Be aware of shortened links
- Be aware of third-part app access to your Twitter account
- Watch out for Phishing emails
Have you ever had your Twitter account hacked? What happened and what did you do?
Let us know in the comments.
If you want to better secure all your social media accounts, check out our free Social Media Security Audit Template.