“@IloveISIS, Welcome to the family” is a phrase that recently sent the Montreal Canadians PR team into a panic. These were the words that the popular hockey team Tweeted out in celebration of 1 million twitter followers on Tuesday evening- courtesy of hackers.
Although the Montreal Canadians were quick to delete the tweet and apologize, the team continues to receive thousands of tweets highlighting negative feedback.
And the Montreal Canadians are only one of millions of accounts that have been hacked. Remember in 2013 when the official Burger King Twitter account was taken over by hackers? It took hours for the fast food brand to notice tweets about how their employees love taking drugs. Not exactly on-brand messaging.
So what can users of Twitter do to protect their accounts? Begin with these five ways to protect your brand from a Twitter hack.
1. Use advanced passwords
This may seem obvious, but weak passwords still exist. A strong password should consist of no dictionary words or common names, upper and lowercase letters, punctuation, and numbers, and 15 characters. Ensure that all passwords for corporate Twitter accounts are unique, as well as complex.
Did you know that Twitter has a banned password list? Click here to take a look.
2. Opt-In to Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication requires users to not only enter a password but to also confirm entry with another item like a code texted to a phone. While this extra step can add a few seconds to the sign-in process, it will save you from the hours of cleanup that can come from a Twitter hack.
3. Monitor Third-Party Applications
It’s always a good idea to take a minute to see what third-party applications has access to your Twitter account. Do this by visiting Apps in your settings and revoke access for any third-party application that you don’t recognize. If you suspect a bad application is still connected to your account, immediately change your password.
4. Beware of Public WiFi
WiFi networks are really easy entry points to your computer, accounts and network. Be cautious if you use public WiFi networks and don’t forget that once you’ve finished browsing, log off all services you were using so you don’t automatically reconnect.
5. Don’t ignore pop-ups for updates
We’ve all clicked “remind me later” over and over again – but it’s critical to install system or software updates to fix any potential vulnerabilities in your network.
If your account has already been compromised, the Twitter Support Center has a list of what you can do to regain access to your account.