Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to Do When Your Twitter Account Has Been Compromised

Twitter bird is dead. Let’s say you’ve fallen for one of the many phishing scams that tend to circulate on Twitter and now followers are sending you messages asking why you’re tweeting about diet pills and sending them DM’s about how other people are spreading nasty rumors about them.

How do you stop the phantom tweets and get things back to normal?

  1. Change your Twitter account password ASAP. You can do this by clicking the little gear icon and selecting ‘Settings’. You will see the ‘Password’ option in the left-hand navigation menu. Enter your old password, create a new one (make sure it’s a strong one with upper/lowercase characters, numbers & symbols) and press ‘Save changes.’

  2. Review Apps that have access to your Twitter account. Assuming that you’ve just finished changing your password and you haven’t left the page, you can see the Apps connected to your Twitter account by clicking the ‘Apps’ link in the left-hand navigation. Carefully look over the listed Apps and hit the “Revoke access” button for any App that seems questionable.

  3. Check your browser for malicious plug-ins and/or extensions. Given that there have been sightings of rogue browser plugins capable of posting spam on Facebook walls it’s not all that farfetched to believe the same can be done with Twitter. Therefore, it may be worth your while to double-check that no malicious plugins/extensions have been installed on your browser.

  4. Scan your computer for malware. It’s a possibility that your Twitter account was compromised thanks to your computer being infected by a piece of malware prone to stealing login credentials. You know, like the Dorkbot worm that’s actively being spread via Skype? As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so go ahead and do a full system scan with your antivirus program.

  5. Delete the garbage tweets. After you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your own Twitter account, help out your fellow Twitter users by deleting any spam updates posted by the scammer/bot and post a warning to your followers about what transpired.

Try to be more careful in the future! And yes, that means no clicking suspicious links (at least not without investigating them first) or entering your Twitter login right after clicking a link.

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