By: Kady Harper
Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms, but it’s also a hotbed of spammers, scammers, and hackers who are eager to social engineer their way into your account — and wreak havoc on more than just your Twitter feed.
As your Twitter account grows and gets more followers it is a regular occurrence to notice that password reset requests happen more frequently. These are from people trying to hack your account.
You don’t have to fall victim to a hacker, though. If you do these 10 things to secure your account, you are almost guaranteed to avoid trouble.
1. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Twitter offers a form of two-factor authentication, called login verification, which requires users to have both their smartphone and their account password to access the account.
When you have login verification enabled, every time you try to login to Twitter with your username and password, or use a new and unfamiliar device, you will receive a text message with a one-time use verification code to enter for access.
If you remain logged in, you won’t have to re-enter a code, so log out of Twitter when you are done in case your phone falls into the wrong hands.
2. Avoid Phishing Scams
As with any other account, never give out your password to Twitter.
Scammers often send messages to users claiming to be from Twitter, requesting that you verify your account, or notifying you that your account has been compromised and you need to change your password.
Others might offer services, such as verification of your account, or a prize, and all you need to do is log in. Remember: Twitter will never ask for your password, and anytime you receive a request for that information, it’s a phishing attack.
3. Use Mobile Security Programs
Protect your device against viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and hacking by installing a mobile security program.
Such an application can help block the malware and other attacks that give hackers access to your personal information — including your social media accounts.
4. Create a Strong Password
Weak or easily guessed passwords are one of the leading causes of hacks and breaches. A hacker intent on getting into your Twitter account is going to try everything, so make your passwords as strong as possible.
Create a password of at least 10 characters and contains a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t reuse passwords either, in case a different account is compromised.
5. Avoid Suspicious Links
Twitters 140-character limit has led to the rise of link shorteners that allow users to share links in their tweets, but link shorteners also have the effect of hiding the actual destination of the link.
Before you click on any link, use a tool like LongURL to check the link and make sure that it leads to a legitimate site.
6. Be Cautious With Direct Messages
Hackers often spread malware via Twitter’s Direct Message feature.
Be cautious even with messages from friends or known contacts if they contain links. Follow up with friends to see if they sent the messages, and if they didn’t delete them without clicking.
7. Use Twitter’s Privacy Tools
Most Twitter users have public accounts, meaning that anyone can find you and follow your tweets. This is great for brand building, but it also increases the likelihood of spam and hacking attempts.
To help keep them to a minimum, use the privacy tools that Twitter offers.
For example, you can protect your tweets so only your followers see them, protect your profile so that you need to approve follow requests, and report users or followers who send spam.
8. Be Cautious With Third Party Apps
Using your Twitter ID to log in to third party applications and websites is convenient, but it can also put you at risk for a hack.
Be cautious about the apps that you allow to access your Twitter, and periodically review which apps have access and revoke permissions for those that you don’t use.
9. Watch for Spoofed Websites
Spoofed websites — those that look like the real thing, but are actually harboring malware or worse — are more common than you might think. If you are accessing Twitter via the official app, you don’t need to worry too much about a spoofed site, but when you go through a browser, double check that you are on the right site and not giving your login to criminals.
10. Lock Your Phone
Finally, keep your data safe should your phone fall into the wrong hands by locking it when not in use. Use the tools available on your device to keep it safe: Use a passcode to lock to phone, enable biometric security if available, and enable remote wiping capabilities when available.
The bottom line? Use the tools that are available and make good decisions, and your Twitter account will remain secure.
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