How Can I Know If My Twitter Account Has Been Compromised?
Social media is a powerful tool. With the ability to broadcast your message far and wide, never has there been such an effective way to reach so many people. Businesses and individuals alike understand how useful social media can be at expressing opinions and conveying information, and would-be hackers and thieves also understand the benefits. There are many different reasons why somebody might want to access your social media accounts – self-promotion, brand reputation harm and identity theft, just to name a few – so it’s crucial to know how to spot the signs. Today, we’ll talk about how you can quickly determine whether your Twitter account has been hijacked by somebody who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
Check for Odd Sent DMs/Tweets
The first sign that your account may have been compromised may come from a friend or family member. Suddenly, you receive a message about a suspicious tweet or DM that they received – from you. Seeing as how most people know how their friends and followers communicate, this should automatically raise a red flag. You may notice weird tweets from yourself, however, and instantly become suspicious. If your account is suddenly pinging users on Twitter with odd-looking links that you didn’t authorize, then there’s a very good chance that your Twitter account has been compromised. What are some of the link types and reasons behind why people do this?
Types of Links/Tweets Shared by Compromised Accounts
Most instances of hacked Twitter accounts don’t revolve around any desire to commit identity theft. Rather, it is part of a greater effort to hijack accounts, tweet promotional material to those accounts’ followers, and hopefully either make money off of it or gain access to more accounts. The types of tweets that are often used to lure people in by compromised accounts can range from weight loss gimmicks and vague “opportunities” to generic anecdotal-like blurbs that try to get specific people to click on the link. In almost all of these cases, the links shared will be shortened links generated via a stand-alone URL shortener service.
There are multiple ways that your Twitter account can be compromised. Excluded negligent behavior involving your password, the installation of random apps is a common way would-be manipulators gain access to your account. It’s worth periodically looking through your Twitter apps in Settings to make sure that nothing odd or unusual has been installed. Another indicator that your account may have suddenly been compromised is a dramatic change in the number of followers you have; whether the number suddenly increases or decreases, this can often indicate that something is amiss.
Use Common Sense
If you want to minimize the chance that your account will one day start pinging users and followers with spam, then a bit of common sense is all it takes. Don’t click on any strange links – whether they’re from strangers or people you know. Avoid installing random apps that you have not done some research on prior. Always exercise sound judgement when it comes to password creation and management. If you follow these rules, then your account being compromised in the first place will be unlikely. If, however, you believe your account has fallen victim to someone else, use the advice above to figure out how it happened and correct the problem quickly.