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Twitter is a social media platform that is used by many people and celebrities to interact with one another via “tweets”. People can follow celebrities and friends and scroll through their timeline to see what everyone’s talking about. It is a great way to interact with other users on the app and to also follow what is going on throughout the world.
I personally use Twitter to follow different cybersecurity experts and to see what topics are trending across the globe. Since this is another popular social media application, I believe that it is important to understand how your account could be hacked. Therefore, this article is going to talk about the four common indicators of compromise that may allow attackers to hack a Twitter account.
Twitter’s Indicators of Compromises:
- Unexpected tweets from your account
- Email notification from Twitter that your account has been compromised
- Lose access to your Twitter account
- Account behaviors (i.e. following, unfollowing, direct messages)
1. Unexpected Tweets from Your Account
This is the first and most obvious indicator that an attacker has hacked your Twitter account. If you see a tweet posted from your account but you didn’t make that tweet then that is an indicator that an attacker may have hacked your Twitter account. This may be due to the lack of complexity of your password, making it easy for hackers to guess or bruteforce.
For example, in July 2020, hackers were able to gain access to “dozens of high-profile accounts, including those of Apple, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama” (cnbc). Take a look at the tweet that the hackers made from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Twitter account.
How Can I Prevent This?
The best way to prevent unexpected tweets from being made on your account is to make sure that you implement a strong and complex password.
The password should be a combination of numbers, symbols, space bar, and lower and uppercase letters. You should make sure that your password for your Twitter account is unique and not the same password used for other email or social media accounts.
This would reduce the risk of your account being compromised. A usual site to verify that your accounts are safe is HaveIBeenPwned. Here you can see if your credentials have been leaked to the public.
2. Email Notification from Twitter that Your Account has been Compromised
You may wake up to an email from Twitter saying that they have noticed suspicious activities on your account and believe that it may have been compromised. If this is the case, I would suggest immediately changing your password and making sure that you are the only one with access to your Twitter account.
By immediately changing your password, you are taking the necessary precautions early on and preventing any further damage that could be done to your account.
3. Lose Access to your Twitter Account
Have you ever clicked on the Twitter app on your phone and all of a sudden you are logged out of it? This is a red flag that the attacker was able to hack your Twitter account!! This most likely means that someone was able to get into your account (via your email/username and password) and changed the password and whatever else they decide to do on your account. You could try to reset your password but if you don’t receive an email from Twitter with the reset link then that means the hacker has changed the email account associated with your Twitter account.
How Can I Prevent This?
You can enable two-factor authentication as an extra precaution to prevent the possibility of losing your Twitter account again.
4. Account Behaviors (i.e. following, unfollowing, direct messages)
If you notice one day that you are suddenly following more people than you were yesterday or less people then that should be an immediate red flag. Especially if you notice the accounts that have been added to your following list are not ones you did yourself. The cause of this may be that you have allowed some third party applications to have access to your profile and who you follow. If you allow these third party applications to have access they might also have control of who you follow and unfollow.
How Can I Prevent This?
To prevent suspicious account behaviors from allowing unwanted users and hackers to hack your Twitter account, you should revoke connections with these third party applications.
Latest Twitter Version
You should make sure that you are using the latest version of Twitter otherwise your account may be at risk. Attackers can easily find a backdoor or insert malware if they find a vulnerability within the Twitter source code. Therefore, it is very important to make sure your Twitter is constantly up to date.
These are the four common indicators of compromise that will tell you if your Twitter has been hacked. These are just a few but very obvious indicators of compromise in my opinion. Of course there are other indicators as well, but I believe that these are the four that you should pay the most attention to.
Hackers are always one step ahead in finding new techniques where prevention might not be possible at first. Therefore, you should make sure that you do everything you can to ensure that your account is secure.
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