Last week we discussed some safety tips on Gmail and how you can completely secure your email account from getting hacked. Twitter is not an exception and you should be very careful with your Twitter activity. There are a lot of “phishing scams” spreading on Twitter and other social networking sites everyday. People use insane methods, scripts and fake login pages to gain access to your social profiles, thus causing identity theft which may cause severe outcomes.
Imagine someone gets access to your Twitter account and then changes the account password and the email address associated with it. You lose the Twitter account and in the worst case, the scammer may gain personal information from your tweets, connections or Direct messages.
He/she may even hurt your online reputation by tweeting spam links, abusive language or vulgar images.
Here is a list of techniques you should keep in mind to completely protect your Twitter account from unauthorized activity:
1. Revoke Access to Unnecessary Applications You don’t use
There are a lot of Twitter apps which you come across every day. Some apps are very good while there are some apps you rarely use.
Login to your Twitter account and go to Settings -> Connections. This page lists all the third party applications which you have authorized to gain access to your Twitter account and post updates in your profile.
It’s recommended to revoke and remove the applications you don’t use anymore.
2. Always Check The URL of the Twitter Login Page
There are a lot of fake login pages which exactly resemble like the Twitter login page. These pages run malicious scripts which can copy your Twitter username and password and send it to an email address.
Whenever you login to your Twitter account, always have a closer look on the URL in the browser address bar and check whether it is twitter.com/login or not.
3. Avoid Web Based Twitter Apps which Ask For your Password
Most of the well known and trusted Twitter apps use OAuth technology for authorizing the necessary permissions. With OAuth, you don’t have to save your Twitter account credentials in any third party site’s database.
Hence, it’s strongly recommended to avoid web based apps which require you to save your Twitter username and password in their database. Look for OAuth alternatives and switch!
4. Beware of Direct Messages From Users whom you Don’t Know
Scammers use a very clever technique to lure you into the pit. First they follow you expecting you to return the favor. When you follow the user back, he sends a direct message, which can be anything like
- ” Hey ! I have got a Gift for you, come on and Download free ….”
- Earn XX $ a day sitting at home …
- You have won a free prize. Claim your prize here …
99% of these links do not work as you think, so there is no point in clicking the spam links received in your direct messages. Whenever I see someone doing this, I delete the direct message and unfollow the user straight away
5. Protect your tweets by making your account private
Do you use Twitter for connecting with your family members, relatives, college friends or collegues? Don’t want the world to see what you are up to? The best way to hide your Twitter activity is to switch your account type to “private” mode.
Login to your Twitter account and go to Settings -> Account and choose “Protect my Tweets”.
Anyone who tries to follow your updates will require your permission and hence this reduces the chance of any security vulnerabilities which may arise. Moreover, scammers will be least interested to bother you as you maintain a private feed.
These are just a few tips for safe Twitter activity and protecting your Twitter account from phishing scams and other online massacres.
Got a tip? Share your ideas in the comments section so that we all can learn from your experience and be extra safe.