With the recent news surfacing about Twitter accounts being hacked all around the globe, users are in a dilemma whether their Twitter accounts are safe or not.
Privacy concerns under such circumstances are very much valid and should be pondered upon, especially when verified accounts are getting hacked easily.
While hackers keep finding new ways to gain access to your personal information, the good news is that the tech giants are also constantly working towards improving their defense.
To ensure that your personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, here are some security measures that should be followed religiously while using Twitter.
1. Use strong password:
The easiest way to hack into an account is to crack its password. With an abundance of data available on the internet these days, it won’t take long for a hacker to find out something about your personal information.
So, here are some precautions you need to take:
– Never keep your personal information (Name, Address, Phone Number) as your password.
– Make sure your password is a strong one. By strong, we mean it should have a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters.
– Avoid using common series/terms (qwerty, abc123, 1-to-9 etc.) as your password.
– Make sure that the password you use for Twitter is unique to it. Common passwords used across different platforms pose a threat if in case data is leaked from any of the websites.
– Lastly, these passwords should be changed from time to time. In the event of any security breach on your account, this is the first things to keep in mind.
– You can use available password managers to ensure the usage of a strong and unique password everywhere.
2. Enable Login Verification:
As one of its security measures, Twitter provides a ‘Login Verification’ option which is essentially a two-step authentication process.
Enabling this will make sure anyone logging into your account will require both your account password and your mobile phone for the verification through SMS. The SMS verification is the second layer of security in protecting your account.
There’s a backup code which is provided with this feature so that you’re able to log in even in case you lose your phone.
Follow these steps to activate ‘Login Verification’:
– Log in to your Twitter Account.
– Select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu on the user-photo on the right.
– In the left menu, Click on Security and Privacy.
– Activate and set up Login verification.
3. Disable Locations :
Twitter offers the option of ‘Tweet Location’ wherein all the tweets that you post will be tagged with your location. While this feature works well in favour at times, it can also have counter effects.
It is recommended to keep such information about your whereabouts to yourself.
To disable ‘Tweet location’ on your account:
– Log into your Twitter account.
– Go to Settings from the drop-down menu on the right.
– Click on Security and Privacy from the left menu.
– Go to Tweet location and disable the “Add a location to my Tweets” option.
– You can also delete the previously stored Tweets location information.
4. Phishing attempt:
This includes the most notorious ways in which spammers target you. Using emails, tweets and direct messages on twitter, spammers send across links that take you to a completely untrusted website.
These might just look like a Twitter original website and ask you for your login ID and password. Do not fall for such scams.
A few very easy steps to avoid such attempts are:
– Whenever in doubt about the website’s URL, use twitter.com to login to your twitter account.
– Do not open unsolicited direct messages from any users, even your friends.
– Always take a look at the website URL before entering username and password to make sure that you are on twitter.com. http://twitter.com/ is the base domain for all twitter webpages.
– Note that Twitter never asks you to download from/ login to a non-twitter website. If you come across any such requests, it is surely a spam.
– Apart from the login page, twitter never asks you for your password be it through Email or direct messages.
– In case you think your account has been compromised, change your password immediately.
5. Third party apps and websites :
There are many third party apps that request for your permission to access your twitter account. As a result, there’s a high possibility that overtime you have granted such permissions to some 3rd party apps.
These apps may use your account for unintended purposes.
You can tackle this security issue through the following steps:
– You can check the authenticity of a 3rd party app using twitter’s OAuth method. It is a secure connection method recommended by Twitter which doesn’t share your username and password with the third party app.
– Review such third party apps having access to your twitter account from time to time.
– Never use apps which promise you enhanced twitter following or easy money through it.
To check the apps having permissions to your Twitter account, follow these steps:
– Choose Settings from the drop down list.
– Click Apps in the left menu.
– Take the necessary steps to allow or revoke access.
6. Enabling Twitter’s privacy and security options:
Twitter provides multiple options to keep your account safe from spam. This includes the ‘HTTPS’ only option which grants an encrypted connection for you to protect your login credentials from hackers.
Also, there is a ‘Protect my Tweets’ option which allows you to filter the audience for your tweets instead of just making them all public.
To protect your tweets, follow these steps:
– Go to Settings.
– Click on Security and Privacy from the left menu.
– Go to Tweet privacy and check “Protect my Tweets” option.
7. Keep personal info out of your profile :
Since Twitter is a huge public network, chances are that the information you share on your twitter account is readily available for other to see. Under such circumstances, it is recommended to keep the personal information on your account down to a minimum.
This includes your phone number, E-mail addresses, address or any other such information which can easily be picked up by Spam bots.
8. Consider removing Geotag info from your photos before tweeting :
Many camera phones add a location information to your photos which is easily readable through some applications. Tweeting such pictures can put your privacy at stake.
It is recommended to check for any such occurrences and delete the geotag information from your photos by using some easily available apps.
9. Secure browsing habits:
Web browsers are the easiest target for cyber criminals to extract any information from. To keep this in check, your browser should always be up to date to make sure it has the latest security updates.
You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to safeguard your online activities.
10. Log out:
Whenever you are using twitter from a public device, make sure you log out at the end of your session. You can also clean out the browser data to be on the safer side.
This will ensure that the next person accessing the device won’t have any access to your data.
As a general safety measure, you can also use private browsing session so that no login credentials or cookies are stored on the device.
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