Your security on Twitter is important, and while Twitter and their Trust & Safety team (led by the very capable Del Harvey) work their little cotton socks off to keep the platform as secure as possible, the onus is on you, the user, to take responsibility to ensure you’re not making yourself more susceptible to exploitation.
Over on the official Twitter blog, there’s a new entry that attempts to answer a question that they probably receive hundreds, maybe thousands of times a day. Namely:
“How do I keep my Twitter account safe and private?”
Here are five official tips from Twitter:
1. Beware Of Phishing
Actual hacks on Twitter are very rare. Most accounts that are compromised have been done so via phishing, which is a way to trick users into sharing their passwords by sending them fraudulent messages (that look very real), in emails, attachments or log-in screens.
Twitter will never send you an email that asks you for your password or instructs you to download attachments.
Tip: Always make sure you only enter your password into Twitter.com or Twitter clients and applications that you completely trust. Be very careful to check that the URL of the site you’re looking at is the real site (i.e., that it’s Twitter.com, not Twiter.com).
Make sure your Twitter password is strong and at least 10 characters, using a combination of letters, numbers and other characters. Don’t use the same password on Twitter you use for anything important on the internet – for example, your bank account or email. This way if your Twitter profile is compromised it won’t have deeper ramification into your life.
Tip: Use Strong Password Generator to create your Twitter password.
3. Use HTTPS On Twitter
HTTPS technology is used around the internet to provide a secure connection, particularly on websites where financial transactions are involved (i.e., Paypal, or your online bank account). Twitter also supports HTTPS which will give your account greater security, particularly on public wireless, but this is turned off by default.
Tip: In your Twitter profile Account settings, click on the Always use HTTPS checkbox to turn on a secure connection.
4. Link Your Phone To Your Twitter Account
Twitter recommends linking your phone to your Twitter profile as this gives you a way to save your account if you lose control of your persona email or password.
Tip: To link your phone, follow these instructions at Twitter support.
5. What To Do If Your Twitter Account Has Been Compromised?
Has your Twitter profile been hacked? Four ways to tell:
- Are there unexpected tweets being sent from your account?
- Are there unexpected direct messages being sent from your account?
- Have you noticed account behaviors – such as following, unfollowing, or blocking – that you didn’t approve?
- Have you received an email from Twitter telling you that “You recently changed the email address associated with your Twitter account”, even though you didn’t authorise this?
Tip: If you suspect that your Twitter profile has been compromised, take the following steps immediately:
- Change your Twitter password (being sure to update the password of all your trusted third-party clients and apps, such as TweetDeck)
- Remove any unwanted applications from your Twitter profile
Twitter has more detail about account recovery on their support pages.
(Source: Twitter blog.)
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