It’s 10:30 on a Tuesday night and you’re watching The Office re-runs when you get an email from one of your friends with the dreaded line “Hey man, I think your Twitter was hacked. Stop sending me pictures of cats!” Your friend got a DM (or direct message) in their Twitter account from you but it’s not from you. Instantly you’re filled with thoughts of embarrassment, fear and anxiety but the problem is very common. What to do next?
Signs of a Hacked Twitter Account
Luckily there are a few good resources on the web to get your Twitter back in order. It’s important to know the warning signs your account has been tampered with. Below are a few signs your Twitter account or someone else’s may have been compromised by a hacker.
Hack Example #1: Teaser Spam Links
“LOL… I am laughing so hard at this photo someone uploaded of me bit.ly/oAjsj3”
- Your DM sounds like it was written by a teenager
- Using LOL in the message is a giveaway there’s something fishy afoot
- A URL shortening link like Bit.ly is commonly used but can be a red flag
- Don’t click that link!
Hack Example #2: Incredible Opportunity
“I lost 12 pounds in 14 days. Take a look bit.ly/oAjsj3”
Wow, my best friend lost 12 pounds in only 14 days. I’ve got to see this! Hold up. Weight loss tweets are a giveaway your friend’s account is on the fritz. Don’t click that link!
“Allow me to share this incredible opportunity bit.ly/oAjsj3”
Sound too good to be true? Don’t click that link! Hackers will often try to bait people into clicking on a link to download an app. Don’t fall for these tricks!
Hack Example #3: Account Changes
Get a notification your account settings have changed but don’t remember making these changes? Check your account to make sure your password still works. Once inside, change your password to something stronger.
Hack Example #4: Strange Apps
You notice some strange apps in your Twitter settings you don’t remember installing. Better uninstall those buddy! If you have apps that are no longer needed or in use, consider removing some of those 3rd party app connections from your Twitter account.
Hack Example #5: Dramatic Increase or Decrease in Followers
If notice much higher numbers of follows in a short period, your account starts following 100s of new people, you are losing followers in large numbers, you might have been hacked. Hacks can be devastating to a person or company that spent months or years building up their audience, only to see part of that audience disappear.
How Do Twitter Accounts Get Hacked?
Hackers can use several hacking methods to try accessing your account like impersonating you with your phone number. Below are just a few more common ways they can get in:
- Poor password protection
- Apps installed with security holes
- Malicious apps used by Twitter spammers
How Do I Fix a Hacked Twitter Account?
Ok, so it’s time to fix. Below are some resources to help you get your Twitter account back in order.