Protect Your Twitter Account

Twitter is an essential part of anyone’s brand these days, whether you’re a small company, a media mogul or someone who simply likes to share her views with anyone willing to listen.

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But everyone from celebrities such as Barack Obama and Britney Spears to major international organizations such as British Petroleum and The New York Times have had their Twitter accounts hacked. These are breaches of security that aren’t just embarrassing, but can also cripple a user’s reputation and credibility.

So how can you make sure that your tweets – or those of the brand you’re managing – remain your own?

Use Strong Passwords: Don’t make your password your dog’s name or your mom’s birthday. Don’t make it ‘password,’ ‘admin’ or some other key that will be just as easy for a stranger to figure out as it is for you to remember. In fact, any word found in the dictionary is not safe. Adding numbers to words is a start, but kick it up a notch: Think of a phrase that is something you are likely to know or remember but that isn’t widely known by others. If you can remember it, mix in some non-alphanumeric symbols. Extend this practice to all of your online accounts, whether banking, social media or email.

Watch Out for Phishing Pages: Why would an attacker try to guess your password if he can trick you into simply giving it to them? He wouldn’t. Which is why you should constantly be on the lookout for phishing scams that ask you for your password or any other sensitive information. If you get an email prompting you to reset your password but you didn’t request that email, don’t click through. And be careful about clicking through on links from URL shorteners like bit.ly, which have become the unwitting conduits for scammers who want to mask the final destination of that click.

Stop Using Infected Computers: Users whose systems are infected sometimes think they can continue to use their computer because they are still able to access their email and various applications even though their computer has clearly been compromised. Well, guess what. If you’re still able to do your thing on your infected system, others are doing their thing on it too. Stop. Take immediate actions to disinfect your system. Better yet, avoid getting infected in the first place. Keep your applications – your web browsers, browser plug-ins, software suites, etc. – updated to the latest versions.

Don’t Use Public Computers: If it’s not your personal computer, don’t use it to access personal accounts. You have no idea what kind of malware or malicious scripts are running on hotel or airport business center computers or even your friend’s laptop. Be smart. Stay safe.

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