The hack of the Associated Press Twitter account on Tuesday serves as a stark reminder of the importance of keeping your social media accounts secure.
USA Today reports that a hacker broke into the AP Twitter account and tweeted a false headline about explosions at the White House, causing a brief tumble in the financial markets.
While your tweets may not move the stock market, the hack does underscore the importance of keeping this communications channel for your business secure.
“Any organization that uses social media channels for communication risks becoming a target,” Claudia Rast, technology attorney at the Butzel Long law firm, tells USA Today. “The risks of using social media are high for the same reason that the benefit is high: maximum exposure. Groups ranging from independent hacktivists such as Anonymous to rogue states such as Syria, Iran, or North Korea can wreck havoc with a simple 140-character tweet.”
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your account information from falling into the wrong hands.
TechnoBuffalo suggests avoiding using the same password on all your online accounts – if just one account gets compromised, it puts the rest in jeopardy. Similarly, take advantage of Twitter’s option to require personal information when resetting your password. This option will make it more difficult for potential hackers to break in and change your password.
The high-profile hack has caused Twitter to begin moving to a more secure form of login called two-factor authentication, Wired reports. This form of authentication breaks the login process into two steps. In the first step, a user enters a login password just as they normally would. The second step varies – the company could send a PIN number to you via text message or email, or it could involve a fingerprint or eye scan. Either way, introducing a second step means that it becomes more difficult to hack an account with just a stolen password. Twitter has a two-step solution in internal testing and hopes to being rolling it out to users soon.
Until two-step logins are in place, and even afterward, it pays to keep your account secure.
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