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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.

Jason

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