Has this ever happened to you? You innocently log onto Twitter and suddenly you notice several spammy tweets that you don’t remember posting. You’ve also apparently sent out direct messages to all your followers leading them on with suspicious links. Or you’re suddenly following some questionable tweeters. How puzzling. You feel like that guy in Memento . Or those clueless hungover guys in The Hangover. Then you realize… you’ve been hacked!
“How does this happen?”
While the term “hacked” gets thrown around liberally, it’s not very accurate. Being hacked implies that someone with glasses is lurking in a dark room and is out to get you. Truth is, it’s not usually as glamorous as this. In most cases, your Twitter account was compromised because:
1) You gave your password to a jerk.
2) You logged onto a computer or a device that wasn’t yours and forgot to log out. And then a jerk took it from there.
3) You mis-typed “www.twitter.com” in your browser and you actually logged on to a devious website pretending to be Twitter and you unknowingly gave them your password.
4) You gave an outside application access to your Twitter account and it was the third-party app that compromised your account (either willingly or unwillingly).
“How do I Get Un-Hacked?”
1) Change your password. Guard your password.
2) Delete the offending spam tweets and direct messages.
3) Manage your apps. Some apps are trustworthy. Some are not. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking at this point “I’m so very clever and don’t have any apps installed on my Twitter.” Apps are sneaky. Do yourself a BIG favor, take two minutes and check out the Applications Tab in Your Twitter Settings. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be in for a bit of a surprise the first time you do this. Now revoke access to any apps that you don’t use, don’t care about, or look fishy. Do this periodically to prevent future hackings.