There’s nothing like coming to work on Monday morning and seeing your Twitter account has been hacked. It’s a total bummer to spend several hours trying to figure out why and if any other programs I use have been compromised.
The first thing to do is re-gain your composure and realize there are bad people out there trying to steal our stuff. Unfortunately, hackers do what they do for money—this is business for them. No matter how much you think you have protected yourself you need to always be on your guard.
Case in point…
Last year my PayPal account was compromised. Before I caught it the hacker had issued 2 shipping invoices totaling over $200 bucks and the money was transferred out of my bank account. Once I realized the breach I contacted my bank and PayPal, who both quickly went to work to secure my accounts, credit me back and alert the authorities.
The first question PayPal security ask was “how long ago did you run a malware and security check on your computer?” Admittedly, I was not very good at manually running all the security checks on my computer as often as I should. They informed me that most security breaches are from not protecting our computers. That’s when I consulted my trusted hosting support guy who encouraged me to invest in a utility software called System Mechanic to automatically optimize and protect my computer network. This little tool was the best investment I could have made to secure my network and I’m confident the security breach was not because my computer wasn’t protected.
If it’s not my computer network then how did my Twitter account get hacked?
According to the Twitter Help Center, other areas your accounts can be compromised are if you have given your username and password to malicious third-party applications or websites. Or if your password is weak.
This may be where my problem lies. Both in linking with third-party applications and my password being weak.
Third Party Applications
Recently, I connected with a third-party application that LinkedIn and other sites suggested I use to feed my blog posts to social media sites. Now, I don’t believe they are malicious by any means. However, third-party applications can sometimes have a bug which can cause unexpected behavior.
I’m a creature of habit and am guilty of using the same password over and over again. I’m learning if I want to protect myself use longer, more difficult passwords that are upper and lowercase with special characters.
What did I do to address this hack?
Step 1: Changed Twitter account password so it was stronger…upper and lowercase plus special characters included. Fortunately I could access my account.
Step 2: Checked the third-party apps in Twitter to make sure I recognized all of them and had authorized access. Changed those passwords.
Step 3: Changed my account password on all of my other social media accounts so they are now stronger and longer.
Step 4: Changed my password on my websites.
If it can happen to big brands like Burger King, it can happen to any of us. Now, all I can do is monitor the situation and encourage every one I come in contact with to protect themselves.
Have you been hacked? I’d love to hear your story and how you resolved it.