Twitter, the popular microblogging service, is not that secure as it seems. You must have heard the news of Twitter accounts of media organizations like Reuters and Fox News getting hacked, but that’s not all, these hackers also posted false news stories on the Timeline.
The lesson learned from this is, your Twitter account is not secure and you need to take some steps to protect your account. Of course there are no steps that can ensure one hundred percent safety, but let’s take a look at some steps that you can easily follow right now to protect your Twitter account. This article is worth the time spent on reading it.
Twitter already encrypts all connections using HTTPS by default. Twitter added the support for HTTPS back in February and the service has now removed any option to disable HTTPS. Indeed, this is a good step by Twitter.
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If you take a look at the Twitter support site, they have mentioned some basic points to keep your account secure.
- Use a strong password.
- Always make sure you’re on Twitter.com before you enter your login information.
- Don’t give your username and password out to untrusted third-parties.
- Keep your Computer and Browser Up-to-date and Virus-free.
Let’s take a look at some of these options in detail.
Use a Strong Password
The password is your first line of defense and therefore you need to make sure that your password is strong. Your password should contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Long passwords are usually stronger, compared to short passwords. Just make sure that your password cannot be easily guessed and is unique for each site. Don’t make the mistake of using the same password that you have used on some other service/website. Also keep changing your password frequently.
Expand URLs Before ‘Actually’ Visiting Them
Short URLs, or URL shorteners are widely used on Twitter and therefore the user does not know where that URL actually leads them to. The short URL may open a phishing site or some other malware website. That’s why you need to expand URLs using browser extensions, or using a web app like LongURL. Visit the website and then enter the short URL and click on Expand button.
In addition to displaying the link’s full URL, this website also displays page title, redirects, meta keywords, meta description, and content type. It also shows a screenshot of the page URL, but the screenshot was not generated in my testing.
Tweak your Twitter Account Settings
Twitter, by default lets users to reset password by simply providing the username. To make things harder, you can make Twitter require your email address or phone number to change your account password. To do this, head over to the gear icon in the top right corner and choose Settings. Scroll down to “Password reset,” checkmark “Require personal information to reset my password,” and then click on the “Save changes” button. You would be asked to enter your password, enter it and confirm your changes.
Other important settings that you should notice are mark my media as containing sensitive content, protect my tweets, add a location to your tweets, and more.
Some other helpful topics from Twitter Safety Center are: protecting your online photos, protecting your personal information and reporting abusive behaviour.
Also read our guide on: How To Get Rid Of Twitter’s Email Spam
So that’s it. Use long and strong passwords, never authorize a third party that you don’t trust with your details and always make sure that you are entering the login details only and only on twitter.com.
Stay alert, stay safe.