For casual observers, it's been fun watching the Twitter hacking that's happened to several businesses over the past few days.
First, hackers got into Burger King's Twitter account to say the company had been sold to McDonald's. (Not true.) Then someone used the Jeep account to say that business had been sold to Cadillac. (Also not true.) A day later, it appeared that similar hackers had gotten into the MTV and BET Twitter accounts, although that was later confirmed to be a PR stunt.
Of course, it's all fun and games when it happens to someone else. But how can you protect your business' Twitter account from online hackers? Here are some tips:
- Change your passwords. A password is only as secure as you make it, so make sure you choose a good one. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in any social media password and don't be afraid to change them often. That's especially true if an employee responsible for posting online stops working for you.
- Don't give third party apps permission. A lot of online applications ask for access to your Twitter or Facebook profiles. It may seem harmless, but that's not really true. In general, it's better not to give permissions to third-party apps unless it's important for your business.
- Regularly scan for viruses. One of the easiest ways for hackers to get into your system is through viruses or malware. You can nip this in the bud by regularly scanning your computer for suspicious activity.
- Be careful when logging in. Twitter suggests you pay close attention when logging in to ensure the URL is actually "twitter.com" and doesn't just look like it. That's good advice for any time you surf the Internet. Before you put in your password, check to make sure you're at the right site.
- Don't just click on links, especially "shortened" links. Links can take you to bad sites and download malicious software on your computer. The problem is that on many social media platforms, links are shortened to ensure they fit. Beware of shortened links, especially from accounts you don't know well. You might not realize they're bad until it's too late.
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- Flip side to Burger King Twitter hack: Many new followers (Computer World)
- 5 Tips for Safety on Social Media Sites (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Customer ID Theft: Are Businesses Liable? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)