Tech/Web

How to protect your Twitter account from being hacked!

Caprica
“Caprica” 5DMKII, Sigma 15mm f/2.8, HDR, cross-processed.

My Twitter page has been restored finally! Turns out someone hacked into my account and deleted it. They then locked me out of my account by creating a fake email in my name and linking it to my account, so I couldn’t reset my password. Awesome! *writes a list of people who may hate me*

At any rate, I have learnt some valuable lessons in protecting my social media from being hacked:

  1. Set a Very Strong Twitter password. One that isn’t your favourite sports team, colour, a sequence of numbers like 123456, the word “password” or “iheartRobertPattinson”.
  2. Create unique passwords for your Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Blog & other social nets. If one is compromised, you could lose your entire lifestream. I used the same password for many accounts. And though it was a strong password, I think the fact that I used it for everything made it vulnerable.
  3. Be careful giving out your Twitter username and password to 3rd Party Apps. I had four 3rd party Twitter apps on my iPhone, two desktop apps, in addition to TwitPic, Flickr to Twitter app, Twitter to Facebook app, and many others I didn’t even remember I had signed up for. Be very cautious and keep track of which apps use your password.
  4. Link your phone number to your Twitter account, so that it can be used to retrieve your password in the event that your account and email address is compromised. You can plug your phone number into Twitter under the device tab.
  5. Back-up your Twitter! I would’ve never even considered this before, but the thought losing 2 1/2 years of tweet history made me sad. So sad I had to eat many cupcakes. Many. It wasn’t pretty folks. There are several services that allow you to back up your Tweets, including BackupmyTweets, TweetBackup, TweeTake & Twistory. I’m going to try few. I’ll get back to you on which one is the best.

After nearly a week of being without a tweet, I realize how pathetically dependent I am on Twitter and how much time I actually spend Twittering. Because without it, I wander the web aimlessly, listen and download an embarrassing amount of tv shows & indie music. Then there’s the watching of said depressing music, tv shows, and the slow deterioration of said tv shows from witty British mockumentaries to crappy CW teen vampire dramas.

All I have to say is vampires should eat cheerleaders, not play football in the sunlight. #vampirediaries

Do you have any tips on how to protect or backup your social media?

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Dennis Bjørn Petersen
    October 7, 2009 at 12:59 AM

    Good to have you back and very sound advice. I guess we are too lazy to use those advanced password on different sites.

    Vampires shouldn’t even be in a teen series. Sucking blood from teens is ok and then tear them apart is ok too, but no teen drama please. ;)

  • Reply
    Tweets that mention How to protect your Twitter account from being hacked! | MostlyLisa.com -- Topsy.com
    October 7, 2009 at 3:30 AM

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stefan. Stefan said: How to protect your Twitter account from being hacked! http://bit.ly/gZwMA [via @mostlylisa] Welcome back, Lisa! […]

  • Reply
    nick
    October 7, 2009 at 8:04 AM

    Stupid in-brain spell-check. That causing on the last paragraph was meant to be cussing for those of you who didn’t catch it.

  • Reply
    Mostly Lisa
    October 7, 2009 at 9:55 PM

    where did all the comments go!!!!! ARRRRG

  • Reply
    Cameron B.
    October 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

    That’s great advice. Another good bit is to protect yourself from Phishing. I just wrote a blog on keeping yourself from being phished (http://blog.intertechpro.com) and I’ve seen a good percentage of my social network friends get “hacked” through phishing.

    If you use good common sense you can keep from getting hacked or phished, but unfortunately a large amount of people are in a hurry to get a tweet out, check their facebook, or just don’t think of paying attention to detail.

  • Reply
    Sahajesh
    October 7, 2009 at 10:00 PM

    Hey, good to see you back again! Looking forward to seeing your write-up on backing up your tweets.

    Cool pic by the way.

  • Reply
    Greg Wilker
    October 7, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    yeah, sarah austin had the same issue this past weekend. where her non used twitter account got hacked and used to create a cyber catfight between her(@sarahaustin) and some random mommy blogger.

  • Reply
    Chad
    October 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM

    My advice is an extension of #1. If you’re on a Mac, consider using 1Password: http://agilewebsolutions.com/products/1Password. It will help you set strong, distinct passwords for all your social media accounts. I turned to the service a few months ago following one of those mass Twitter hacks and I feel much more secure now.

  • Reply
    Nick
    October 7, 2009 at 10:03 PM

    Those are decent advice for all accounts, not just social media. Another to realize is that brute-force algorithms (programed designed to guess passwords) are not as outdates as most think (if they even know about them). They generally run off dictionary trying all words and combination with machine precision. Anymore, most are sophisticated enough to guess words separated by numbers or special characters.

    The suggestion I make to everyone who brings up this topic is to pick a nonsensical string of special character, number, and letters and *gasp* write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your purse/wallet (without writing down what the string is for). Face it, people know how to protect their wallets and purses but *cough* not so much their passwords. And after a while, you will build a muscle memory of the password and not have to look at it.

    As an example, several years ago I had a password: &^33)lk&&^@# for a site. I couldn’t tell you over the phone what the password was, but two years after I stopped using it I can still type it without pausing to think about it.

    And besides, it made me feel like I was causing at my computer every time I typed it in, which is something we all need to do from time to time. ;)

  • Reply
    Sean Phillips
    October 7, 2009 at 10:04 PM

    How do you link your phone number to your Twitter account? I’ve looked through all the settings in Twitter and don’t see that as an option anywhere?

  • Reply
    clarke thomas
    October 7, 2009 at 10:06 PM

    I had my primary gmail account hacked recently. My password was a 14 character alphanumeric chemical formula. All my other social media accounts, financial accounts, et al. were linked to this email. Thankfully Google was a lot quicker to unlock/retrieve my account than Twitter was for you.

    Since then I’ve set different passwords based on their type. I suggest using l337 speak or something out of the ordinary for your password(something not easily linked back to you; such as favorite vacation spot).

    for twitter backups; http://www.markwilson.co.uk/blog/2009/08/backing-up-my-tweets.htm

    for gmail backups; http://www.gmail-backup.com/

  • Reply
    Jose Riveros
    October 7, 2009 at 10:06 PM

    “Set a Very Strong Twitter password. One that isn’t ‘iheartRobertPattinson’.”

    Damn it Lisa!

    — sulks off to change all passwords.

    Kidding aside, on the Windows side you can use KeePass to generate your passwords using a very flexible system. This app can export an html based chart of all you passwords. (KeePass is also available for the Mac and Linux using a hack which I haven’t been able to work.)

    Alternatively, you can create an excel spreadsheet listing all your passwords and dump that file in a password protected zip folder which you can upload to your dropbox account. Which gives you access to all your passwords from anywhere you have internet access.

    I personally keep my KeePass file in my DropBox folder.

  • Reply
    Al Altan
    October 7, 2009 at 10:07 PM

    Hey thanks dude…just tried texting from my cell to twitter…fun…good to see you are back with your twitter account!

  • Reply
    Phaoloo
    October 8, 2009 at 12:25 AM

    Thanks for the tips. I always avoid using 3rd apps for the password. Making a strong password is always a good habit and it’s not only for Twitter account. I use KeePass to generate the passwords, and store all in one file and just have to remember a master password.

  • Reply
    Kirsty Wilson
    October 8, 2009 at 1:31 AM

    Thanks for the backup info. This is something I have been meaning to investigate for sometime. I am following someone on Twitter that recently lost his entire list of followers. Other than a handful of IDs he could remember, there is no way he call retrieve that info. This could be devasting for some!
    Cheers @kirsty_wilson

  • Reply
    mr. diggles
    October 8, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    if someone wants in bad enough, they will get in.

  • Reply
    thegoldeneagle
    October 9, 2009 at 5:40 PM

    HA! When I linked to this article (Twitter bulletin) I thought of you; I scrolled up and saw your name : ) Guess I won’ t RT it to you.

  • Reply
    Roshan
    October 12, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    Luckily they didn’t Tweet anything pretending to be you. Glad to have you back.

  • Reply
    Aimee Greeblemonkey
    October 12, 2009 at 9:44 PM

    Great tips – and I have never thought of the Twitter backup.

  • Reply
    McClaud
    October 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    It should be called “Twitcher” for you, since you can’t live without *twitch* using *twitch* Twitter.

    lolosauras

  • Reply
    macpug
    October 24, 2009 at 5:39 PM

    Any results on which of the Twitter backups you liked best? Inquiring minds…Thanks!

  • Reply
    Andrew Daviel
    December 26, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    Using different, random, passwords everywhere; excellent advice.
    Using leetspeak, not so hot. Check out what hackers are trying against SSH root accounts:
    http://andrew.triumf.ca/ssh_pass_file2.html

    I’m pretty certain my Linux system is immune to the type of drive-by attacks described, if only because hackers can’t be bothered to create an exploit. What I’m not so sure about is whether UAC or using a standard account on Vista/Windows 7 would protect you. Can’t hurt, for sure (setting an administrator password then using a standard account for normal stuff; maybe different ones for work, play, kids).

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