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How to: Prevent Your Corporate Twitter Account From Being Hacked

With probably the most high-profile Twitter account hack to date still in flux, The Associated Press have been forced to suspend their Twitter account and the Internet is in frenzy. This is what happens when your Twitter account gets hacked:

Associated Press Hack

The brand damage that will follow from hacks like this is insurmountable. Boy who cried “wolf”, anyone?

Here’s some examples of other high profile Twitter hacks:

Fifa’s President, Sepp Blatter got hacked just yesterday:

Sepp hacked twitter

And of course, the infamous hack earlier this year of Burger King’s account:

Burger King Hacked

Twitter hacks are actually really common, and it’s entirely not Twitter’s fault. It’s the fault of the Account owners, who do these silly things:

  • 1) Have guessable passwords, or weak passwords
  • 2) Account Owners can’t name all of those who have access to the account
  • 3) Have saved the account password on their computer or several computers, which then got stolen (or someone else sat at)
  • 4) Gave the password to someone via Email (or even, believe it or not, Twitter itself…)
  • 5) The account is accessible via a smartphone which itself is not password protected

Really simply, here’s how NOT to get your Twitter account hacked:

1) Change your passwords often, and ensure that they’re strong passwords.

By often I mean at least fortnightly, and by strong, I mean passwords that don’t contain a legible word, and that also have capital letters, numbers and Unicode characters in them. For example:

0j*h$h87am1b_‚¬

2) Contain who has access to the Corporate Twitter Account

By this, I mean fewer than you have fingers on one hand. For a high-profile Corporate Twitter account, I’d also advise you to draw these account managers into some sort of loss-prevention document where they are made painfully, and plainly, aware of the seriousness with which they guard the vaults.

3) Do NOT allow your browser to save your Corporate Twitter account’s password. 

This is a no-brainer. I know it’s helpful to have them all saved so you don’t have to remember what the password is all the time, but just imagine if some visitor (from delivery people to maintenance, IT to an interviewee) to your office building were to just slip, unnoticed, into your chair and tap away on your computer. The carnage. 

4) Don’t EVER give your password to someone via Email. Just don’t. See below:

AP Hack

5) Avoid Smartphone usage for high-profile, corporate accounts

Again, no brainer – a smartphone is a) a high-profile thing in itself and is highly sought after by thieves, and b) can easily be left behind. Once it falls into the wrong hands, the last thing you’re thinking of is your Twitter account. You’re thinking of your email, your photos, possible financial details, etc. Don’t trust yourself to keep a smartphone guarded with pre-programmed passwords for your Corporate Twitter accounts inside it. It’s just not worth the risk!

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