This morning, many Twitter users (myself included) received a warning message via email saying in part “Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account.”
Yikes! That got my blood pumping faster than my morning coffee.
It’s never good to hear word that someone may have gotten into your account, but before you go rushing around trying to fix things, take a moment and follow these steps in order to regain control over your tweets…
Twitter Hacked? Here’s What To Do
Step One: Take a deep breath – just because you got this message, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone actually broke into your account and did anything.
Step Two: Reset your password. The email from Twitter includes a link that takes you to their password reset screen. If you’d like to be extra-careful, instead of clicking the link in the email you can go to the Twitter.com homepage and request that your password be sent to you:
This will take you to another screen where you can enter either the email address you use with Twitter, or your account name, and you can choose whether to reset your password with an email, or a text message to your phone (I went with email).
Step Three: As soon as that email arrives, click the link in there and simply enter (then verify) a new password for your account. Be sure to make it a strong one, with a variation between letters, numbers, and the odd symbol (*&!%, etc.) thrown in.
Step Four: While you’re at it, this is an excellent time to add further security to your account. Right after you finish resetting your password, Twitter will ask if you’d like to review the applications which have access rights to your account. This is a great idea to do every once in a while!
It’s not unheard of for people to allow some app access to their account, and months later, long after they’ve used it, the app provider gets hacked, and before you know it, your account is DM-ing all your friends with warnings that a scandalous video of them has appeared on Facebook, or how they can lose weight by eating berries.
Just click that “Review applications” button and Revoke Access to apps that you may not recognize, or at least haven’t used in a long time. Just this morning, I must have taken a dozen or so off my list.
Step Five: Now that you’ve got things locked down, check your account to see if any messages were sent without your permission. There could be either regular Twitter updates, or DM’s sent to your followers, so make sure to check both areas. I don’t know why they did this, but it’s a little difficult to find your DM’s when using the Twitter website – you have to use the drop-down menu under the little gearbox in the upper-right corner of the screen:
If you don’t see any unusual messages, then consider yourself lucky, you’re all done!
On the other hand, if you do see some spam which was sent out, make sure to delete those messages ASAP, and once complete, just post a public update saying something like “sorry for any spam messages you might have received from me recently, but the problem should be resolved now”. You probably don’t want to get into sending a DM apology to everyone affected, that’s almost like making the problem worse!
Hopefully you weren’t adversely affected by this morning’s incident, but the Five Steps noted above can apply in general any time you become concerned about your Twitter account being hacked.