The Dow Jones took a brief plunge on Tuesday after the Associated Press' Twitter account was hacked, falsely tweeting that there had been two explosions at the White House.
The @AP Twitter account is one in a long string of accounts that have been compromised, including Twitter accounts for the news programs "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours," CBS News reports.
Of course, news organizations aren't the only ones who need be worried about Twitter hacking. Here are five strategies that can help any individual or business avoid being hacked:
- Change passwords early and often. Password hacking has become sophisticated to the point where passwords like "love" or "guest123" might as well be welcome mats to hackers. It may be wise to change your password to something with random letters and numbers, or use a secure password generator to create one. Be sure to use a different password than the one you use for other accounts, as it may increase you likelihood of that password being compromised.
- Limit third-party access. Many online applications and games will log you in seamlessly with your Twitter and Facebook accounts, but be aware that these third-party applications now have access to your social media account information. Even third-party Twitter applications may make you vulnerable to hacking, so link your account at your own peril.
- Avoid malware. Similar to avoiding malware through email, don't click on links from Twitter accounts you aren't familiar with. These links can contain malicious software that will silently download themselves onto your device and make your account vulnerable to hackers.
- Log in and out with care. Twitter recommends that you always check that you're at Twitter.com before you log in to prevent possible phishing, which can result in your username and password being stolen. Also take care to regularly log out of Twitter on your mobile device, as smartphones get lost and stolen very easily.
- Regularly check your account. This may sound like common sense, but you should check your Twitter account at least once a day to ensure nothing funky is happening with your feed. Fox News is pushing this advice with gusto after their Twitter account was hacked during overnight hours on a holiday weekend.
- Keeping your account secure (Twitter)
- Stop Twitter Hacking: Tips for Small Businesses (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Can Retweeting Get You Sued for Libel? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Could Fake Hurricane Sandy Tweets Lead to Criminal Charge? (FindLaw's Legally Weird)