Archive for April, 2013

Prevent Your Twitter And Social Media Accounts From Hacking

Today, another major hacking occurred to a trusted news source, the Associated Press. This particular hacking was not light in its messaging. A tweet stating “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured” was sent at 12:13pm CST resulting in thousands of RT’s, the stock market briefly crashing 143 points, and a world fearful of another potential terrorist attack.

Quickly, White House and AP staff confirmed the tweet was baseless and a result of a hack.

This is not the first time a major brand has been hacked. Burger King’s twitter account was hacked in February, and numerous Major League Baseball accounts were compromised in 2012.

How does this happen? Often times, hacking results due to weak passwords. This is not the sexy, technical answer expected. Other reasons include giving permission to third party applications to find out various pieces of information about your account: who isn’t following you back, top connections, your Twitter crush, etc.

In the Associated Press case, this could have been a focused initiative by an unknown group who first attempted to steal AP journalist passwords. Mike Baker, AP reporter tweeted “The AP Hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.”

There is another side to this story: Twitter appears extremely vulnerable to hacking. Earlier in 2013, Twitter reported 250,000 account passwords had been compromised by hackers and issued no further comment. In June 2012, popular professional networking site LinkedIn endured a security breach impacting 6.4 million users and their passwords.

Quick tips for users to prevent hacking

  • Change your passwords every 90 days
  • Avoid using the same password for all of your accounts
  • Avoid using a family members name that someone close to you could easily guess
  • Use numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols (when allowed)

All social networking sites must be serious about preventing what feels like constant hacking. Two-factor authentication is one solution. This would enable the social channel to send a text verification code to your phone or email after you log in to ensure you are the owner of the account. Adding an extra layer of security may prevent numerous hacking attempts, until the hackers find another way.

Have you been hacked or compromised before? Share your story in the comment area below.


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Find Out If Your Twitter Followers Are Fake

Ever since Mitt Romney and his communications team was exposed for purchasing Twitter followers, the legitimacy of every accounts following has been increasingly criticized. In a recent article on Yahoo, well known individuals including President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban and the founders of Twitter were exposed as having a significant percentage of their following deemed as fake or inactive with fake follower percentages reaching as high as 32%.

An issue with fake followers is how affordable and easy it can be to acquire thousands of fake followers. Many individuals still believe that a large following is the key to success on Twitter or social media. That is simply not true. If someone’s following is largely fake or inactive, their following and their potential impact becomes diminished. I strongly recommend not purchasing followers. Compare it to purchasing links for SEO value; it is a tactic no one recommends and could hurt your reputation in the long run.


Yahoo used Status People’s Fake Follower Check to analyze the accounts. Just log-in to your Twitter account and authorize the application to sync with your account to receive data on yours or other accounts.

I ran my Twitter account and was pleased with the outcome: 1% fake, 10% inactive, 89% good.

I spoke about fake Twitter followers and other topics today on 96.3 KTWIN (play at the 4:10 mark)

Where do you rank?


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Categories: Uncategorized

The Role of Social Media and Technology in the Boston Marathon Tragedy

April 16, 2013 2 comments

April 15, 2013 is a day which will not be forgotten for generations to come. A terrorist attack occurring at mile 26, near the end of the Boston Marathon has changed countless lives and altered history. 

Social media played a significant role in the tragedy. That was not the surprising part. Many people found out about the evolving tragedy on a social media channel (including myself). Quickly, images of the first and second explosion surfaced followed by images of the seriously injured. Video of both explosions were spreading fast through Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Vine videos even made an appearance. 

The act of sharing photos and videos was not a surprise. The location of the blasts coupled with the mass amount of people watching the final steps of the marathon looking for loved ones with their phones and cameras out created a perfect storm for documenting the tragedy. The average person became a journalist by chance with their device acting as their publishing tool. While there are risks that come from sharing content from non-authoritative people, most of what was shared was accurate. There was a New York publication that egregiously missed the post. 

What was and has been a surprise to me: how social media was used to communicate the situation from law enforcement accounts. The Boston Police used their Twitter account request video of the finish line, update the situation at the JFK library which was briefly linked to the bombings, and give instructions to people near the area. The fact that Boston Police chose social media as a viable option in a moment of crisis is a big deal. I will argue social media took a step forward in becoming even more mainstream and trustworthy. 

The FBI is currently asking for any and all photos and videos from the crime scene to aid in their investigation. This is similar to the JFK assassination where the FBI asked for all video from the murder scene. However there are more than a few cameras compared to what was present during the JFK assassination. Will there be a Zapruder equivalent with this tragedy? 

Additionally, Google released a people finder exclusive to the Boston Marathon where you were given two options: check on a loved one, or submit information on someone. This helped near 5,500 people be accounted for in a very chaotic time. 

The events on April 15 were unfortunate on unimaginable levels. With the assistance of social media and technology, relevant information was able to spread quickly possibly saving lives, and potentially finding the terrorist who committed this unthinkable act. 

I was on 96.3 KTWIN in Minneapolis this morning discussing this topic. Listen to my thoughts about social media’s role in the Boston Marathon tragedy

Thoughts are with those impacted. 


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A Return to Writing

Yes, it has been a while since my last blog post. Yes, it has been far too long. My apologies.

To be fair, I have posted blogs on the BlueSpire Marketing site (my employer) since my last post. Blogging has not been completely foreign from my world.

The BlueSpire blog serves a purpose. This blog serves another purpose. It is time to get back to writing here.

Please join me, yet again, on this lovely platform. I promise an interesting ride for all to enjoy!


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