Your Twitter account is more precious than you realize. It is not only a source of followers but of new readers for your blog. It is one of the best ways to blow up quickly if you have just the right post. You could easily say that any effective website or business these days has a Twitter account, if only to communicate with fans and customers.
This necessity is why you need to make every effort to protect it, as hackers aren’t afraid to go after social media accounts of all types to make a quick dollar tricking and scamming your followers. Most won’t fall for it, but many of those who do will blame you for their troubles. Defense is possible, but you need a plan.
Here are some of the main things you should know:
Your Twitter Account Is Your Reputation
To better demonstrate how important protecting your Twitter account is, imagine what would happen if it were to get taken over by your worst enemy or an agent of chaos bent on burning your account to the ground for a few dollars. These are the people you might wind up dealing with, and when dealing with security, you need to consider the worst-case scenario.
Twitter followers are perfectly willing to unfollow you and your blog at the slightest hint of danger, and they don’t care whether the danger is from a hacker or not. It only hurts your reputation to experience a cybersecurity breach, as you didn’t prepare enough or fell for a mundane scheme in their eyes. Those that don’t unfollow immediately after seeing an offensive post will unfollow after they see they don’t stop.
Getting a Hacked Account Back Isn’t Easy
Taking the time to defend your account now and set up defenses will save you hours or even days (depending on the severity of the situation) in the long run. If you can still change your password and log in after you’ve been hacked, you need to take care of things immediately (change the password and contact support, followed by damage control) and then count yourself lucky. A password reset might work, but hackers are tricky and will likely have taken steps ahead of you to keep the account if they really want it.
If this isn’t the case, then the process will be a bit more difficult for you. You’ll need to manage the access of other services via your Twitter account, find a way to contact customer support and then find proof that the account stolen is in fact yours. Meanwhile, the damage against you is growing. In the worst-case scenario, you will never get your account back and have to start over from the beginning. No matter what, you will lose a few days of time.
You Need to Toughen Up Your Defenses
Make sure you take care of the following:
• Use an excellent Virtual Private Network on your device(s) if you ever plan on traveling or using a public network while taking care of your blog and Twitter account. Their main usefulness lies in their security benefits. They encrypt your connection and keep you anonymous online, allowing you to safely use any network without fear of data interception.
• Make sure you have the strongest passwords and verification measures possible not only on your Twitter account but any accounts linked to that account or your other business ventures. Everything is interconnected, and a skilled hacker can use your email to take over your Twitter account.
• Make sure your computer has an online security suite and is updated constantly. A sick computer leads to a lost Twitter account rather quickly.
Links Can’t Be Trusted
Links can lead to what is being described or they can lead to malware or a malicious website. You can never be certain, and with the advent of shortened addresses, the risk has grown higher. Don’t click on every link you see in order to get more networking opportunities. Don’t trust the words you read along with every tweet. Ask yourself whether the user is trustworthy and if they would have any reason to lie. Established brands and bloggers can probably be trusted, but otherwise hold off.
You Need to Look at Your Settings
Unfortunately you can’t just build walls around your entire Twitter account and hope for the best. You are using your blog to enhance your image and go public, and thus you need to be available to all. What might be useful for you, though, is to check your security settings and see what you can do. The following might help a bit:
• If there are accounts harassing you, don’t forget you can block them. You won’t have to worry about them anymore and spend more time elsewhere.
• Always require a password to use your account. It will make things more difficult for cybercriminals if your computer or smartphone gets stolen.
• Do require personal information to reset your password. It will keep your account from being stolen entirely, and a few bad Tweets isn’t as bad as an entire account getting lost.
• Protecting tweets is an option, but its use is limited. It’s best used when getting info out to a select group of people that would be inconvenient if the public got wind of it.
Don’t underestimate these options. They’re free, easy and they will spell the different between a bad situation and a complete disaster.
Just because Twitter has a short message length doesn’t mean it’s not important, and most people don’t understand the potential security risks in the platform. Yet with the right defenses and habits on your end, you have nothing to worry about, and you can get right back to building followers and improving your online life.
Do you have any thoughts as to how to improve the security of your blog’s Twitter account? Are there any other interesting stories that you have to share about an attempted attack? Please leave a comment below, and share this information with your friends and colleagues to help keep them safe as well.