Top Tips To Help Prevent Your Twitter Account Being Hacked

Despite Twitter increasing its security over the years, users are still at risk from online hackers wreaking havoc. Pop star Katy Perry is the latest high-profile victim, recently subjecting her 89 million followers to a stream of uncharacteristically strange and abusive tweets which were later confirmed as the handy work of hackers. However, it isn’t just celebrities being targeted. Twitter hacks can happen to anyone so it pays to remain vigilant. If you are new to the platform, here are some of our top tips for keeping your account safe and secure.

Get a unique password

One of the easiest ways to protect your account against hackers is to have a secure password and change it on a regular basis. Twitter forces people to elevate their password security by maintaining a list of banned passwords that contain obvious or common words. Using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters that are unique to your Twitter account is a good way to prevent unauthorised access. We know it can be frustrating having to think of and recall lots of nonsensical codes for multiple online accounts, however password complexity really is the first line of defence against virtual thieves.

Be cautious of direct messages

A direct message, or DM, might contain malicious links which can often trick an unsuspecting recipient and lead them to a bogus site to verify login details or infect their computer with malware. If your user settings allow direct messages from any of Twitter’s 310 million active monthly users, either adjust your settings so only your trusted followers can get in touch or apply extra caution. Always ignore spam direct messages and never click on a link that looks suspicious.

Seek clarity

If you are worried about the validity of a DM, you could ask the sender to verify their account by answering an easy question. As most spam is automated, it’s unlikely you will get a response from a robot.

Make it official

Accessing Twitter via its official app from your personal smartphone or tablet is recommended. This reduces the frequency of logging in and out or potentially accessing Twitter via a fake site, therefore limiting your chances of being hacked.

Check the URL

If you don’t have access to the app or choose to sign in via its website, make sure you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your machine and always check you are on the authentic Twitter website before entering your password.

A slight variation in a website address can often go undetected and fool even the savviest surfer. Skilled hackers can imitate a website and deceive users who don’t realise they have unwittingly supplied their username and password to a fake site until it’s too late. Thankfully most browsers, such as Google Chrome and Safari, will have in-built security features that alert users to hoax websites and help prevent scams.

Always log out

Lastly, never forget to log out of your account if you have accessed it via a friend’s computer or over a public network, especially if you go abroad and use an internet café or hotel computer. It can be unnerving when you notice an unexpected tweet from your account or other unusual behaviour you can’t explain. If you think your account has been compromised or hacked, don’t panic. Twitter is on hand to help and has a comprehensive step by step guide to resolving problems swiftly via its online Help Center.

If you are concerned about your online security or need advice on the latest anti-virus software for your computer, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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