Jeep & Burger King had their Twitter accounts hacked this week. The hacks caused quite the stir online after fake sales announcements to competitors and inappropriate tweets with and without photos attached were sent out. Poor security standards are no doubt to blame for the stunt, but what should you do if/when it happens to you? And how can you make it less likely to happen at all? Find out below…
Did my account just get hacked?
Not sure if your account was hacked? There are few quick ways to see if unauthorized access has occurred. See if you notice any or all of the follow:
- Missing tweets or DMs that you know you have sent/received
- Apps that have been authorized without you doing so
- Profile, background or header images having changed without you doing so.
- Tweets sent out that you know you didn’t send
- Your account being suspended
- Your name or username having been changed
- Loss of account access
Those are some possible results of being hacked. You can of course break the Twitter terms of service on your own and be suspended for it, but for today let us assume that you are following the rules.
Oops. Your account got hacked. Now what?
First: Gain back control. If you block out the unauthorized users of your account they can’t keep messing things up!
- Login to your account. If it is suspended you can request it be unsuspended here.
- Reset your password. Replace your old password with a new strong password.
- Deauthorize all of your apps. The hack might have been through an app, not your password.
- Reset all of the passwords for your trusted apps. You can reauthorize them via Twitter as you need to use them again in the future.
Second: Put things back to normal
- Change your profile, header and background photos back to what they should be.
- Change your name, username, bio and link back to what they were.
- Delete any media/tweets shared that are not yours.
Third: Make an apology and assure your followers that things are back to normal. You are back in control. You might even make a joke like @BurgerKing & @Jeep did or offer a coupon (if you are a business).
What to do to avoid getting hacked?
Make a strong password.
It isn’t the only thing to do, but it is the first and most important thing you can do on Twitter. Use this new strong password on only one Twitter account. Have other Twitter accounts? Use other passwords. The last thing you want is all three of your Twitter accounts hacked using the same password. Losing control of one account is more than enough to deal with!
Only Authorize Trusted Apps.
Make sure to only let reputable companies with a track record get authorized access via an app to your account. Want to try out that brand new app, but don’t know if the company is trusted? Try it out on a test Twitter account for a while first. Twitter accounts are free so make a new one today and test out new apps with it.
Don’t Leave your device logged in and unattended.
No mater how strong your password is it is useless if you leave your computer logged in to Twitter and attended for even a minute at home, in a coffee shop or office building.
Don’t use open Wi-Fi without protection.
Contrary to popular belief logging into Twitter on an open wifi network using https will not always keep you safe. The initial login protocol Twitter (and other SSL sites) use is often still unprotected from prying eyes. An easy way to avoid this is to use a VPN service like Cloak*.
I did that, now what?
There are no guarantees on security, but these hints should help keep you safe. Using common sense can help too. Just because your brother’s co-work’s buddy “knows social media” doesn’t mean you share your password with that person. Now, go have fun on Twitter and stay hack free!
* If you click that link, sign up for the 30-day free trail and become a paying customer I'll earn a credit towards a free month's subscription on Cloak. Thank you!