How to Keep Your Social Media Safe After Recent Twitter Hacks

Safety Team
Updated Aug 6, 2020
3 min read

Social media accounts are hacked every day, giving access to pertinent information and loved ones without our consent. And without right safety measures, your account could be next. Twitter’s most recent attack may make you think twice about what information you share and with whom. Fortunately, we’ve narrowed down everything you need to know to keep your personal data as safe as possible. 

Twitter’s Massive 2020 Hack

Recently, the news has been filled with stories of Twitter’s massive hack that has all of its users concerned. According to The Atlantic, the entire social media platform was hacked in mid-July, and the hacker(s) was able to send tweets from politicians and celebrities including Joe Biden and Elon Musk. This attack has resulted in the FBI and other agencies looking further into the attack and Twitter’s security measures to prevent further future damage and to keep personal data safe. 

Over 130 accounts were exposed and possibly compromised. Since then, the accounts have been locked until Twitter is able to investigate potential damage further and re-open them securely. Using Twitter’s in-house tools, the hackers sent unauthorized tweets promoting a bitcoin scam. It’s unclear what else hackers were able to access, such as direct messages that aren’t encrypted. 

Social Media Safety Reminders

Whether you’re an avid Tweeter or you’re a fan of another social media platform your information could still be hacked — even if you’re careful. 

Privacy Policy and Settings: Rarely do we ever read our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter privacy policy when creating an account or during updates. However, those policies contain important information that relates to your account and the privacy you can expect. Above anything else, make sure you understand the following: 

  • Is any of your personal data collected? If so, is it being shared or sold in any way? 
  • What information is automatically collected when you sign up?
  • Does the social media platform use cookies? If so, how?

Once you’re comfortable with the answers to the above questions for your Facebook or other accounts, you’ll want to reevaluate the default privacy settings. It’s up to you to determine what information on your page is open to the public or only for accounts you specifically allow. You can also adjust your messaging settings to only receive messages from your friends and family instead of strangers. Other settings to consider are who can look up your account and whether or not your account or posts are searchable on Google. 

You may also want to decide which information to omit, including your hometown or birthday. Consider changing these settings to make you feel most comfortable with what’s being shared and what’s not. Remember, you can always adjust or change your privacy settings as you become more familiar with the platform. 

Locations and Check-Ins: You might think it’s a good idea to share where you’re traveling while at the airport or if you’re out for a night on the town. But this isn’t always the safest move. Hackers or burglars could be watching your social media to pinpoint when you’re not home. Wait until you’re back home to share your photos, locations or other details that could put you in danger. 

Accepting Friend or Follower Requests: You don’t have to accept every friend request you receive on social media. Depending on what you choose to share on your profile, it may not be a good idea to accept certain accounts — especially people you don’t know. It’s important to be especially aware of spammy accounts that could put your own account data in jeopardy. Block these accounts and report them as spam immediately. 

Beware any of the following situations, and approach them with extreme skepticism and caution:

  • Bulk messages to multiple people from someone you don’t know — even if there’s someone else recognizable in the message group. 
  • Requests for you to click a link to buy a product, read an article or other suspicious activity. 
  • Ads, threats or requests to click links, solicit information or other actions. 

The best rule of thumb is to never accept friend requests from people you don’t know and to keep as much personal information as private as possible on social media. If there’s any doubt about the person behind an account seeking to connect with you, reach out to the person via text or a phone call to confirm the account to be sure. 

Passwords and Logging In: It’s convenient to let your social media platform keep you logged into your account so you don’t have to remember password details. But this can be a dangerous move if you share your mobile device or if it falls into the wrong hands. 

For your safety, it’s best to log in each time to access your account and log out when you’re done — especially when using a shared or public computer. If two-factor authentication is offered, use it to keep your account secure. 

It’s also critical to follow password best practices by changing your passwords regularly and creating passwords that aren’t easy to guess based on your personal information. Don’t use the same password from another account either. Most importantly, never share your passwords with anyone for any reason. 

Signs Your Account Has Been Hacked

It might not always be obvious that your account has been hacked, but here are a few red flags to watch out for: 

  • Emails or messages saying your account information has been changed when you haven’t made any changes. 
  • Unauthorized posts, messages or photos that you didn’t post. 
  • Unauthorized friend requests sent or accepted. 
  • Suspicious logins from other devices. 
  • New applications or games that you didn’t buy.

What Should I Do if My Account is Hacked?

Each social media platform has different procedures if your account is hacked. Here’s what you need to do immediately after you notice something is suspicious. 

  • Report your account as being hacked immediately. 
  • Change your password right away. If your social media’s password has been used for any other accounts, change those passwords immediately and check to make sure there hasn’t been any unauthorized activity. 
  • Check to make sure there aren’t any new friend requests or groups that you haven’t approved of. 
  • Make sure there weren’t any unauthorized photos, messages or posts on your behalf. If so, report them immediately.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, hackers will take advantage of any opportunity given to them, which is why it’s important to take every precaution possible. Remember to follow internet safety best practices to keep your network and mobile devices safe, first. Most importantly, follow our highlighted safety reminders to keep your account and personal data as safe as possible. 

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Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.

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