First Burger King and now Jeep. Both prominent companies have suffered embarrassment since having their Twitter accounts hijacked this week, reportedly by Anonymous. It’s unfortunate, but these two companies join a long list of other businesses, news media outlets, politicians (including Barack Obama), celebrities and even average citizens who have found their Twitter accounts taken over by hackers.
The problem is so pervasive that dozens of articles turn up when you search on “what to do if your Twitter account is hacked.” Even Twitter itself devotes a page on its website to instruct users how to deal with the problem. (The solution? Change your account password.)
Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has become an important service for disseminating information around the world. While we still might get a Tweet that tells us what Kim K had for breakfast (now that she’s eating for two), it’s just as likely that we’ll learn of breaking news in war-torn countries, or of severe weather heading our way, or even of an active shooter on a college campus. What’s more, Twitter usage spikes during significant events like last summer’s Olympics or the recent Super Bowl.
Twitter claims to have 200 million active tweeters, and even more users who simply follow what other people have to say. The number of users has been on a strong growth trajectory, and even businesses now consider Twitter to be a “must have” in their stable of methods to stay in touch with loyal customers. With so much interest from users from every corner of the globe, it’s a real shame that Twitter pays lip service to its users’ privacy and account security.
It was just a few weeks ago that Twitter itself was hacked and approximately 250,000 account credentials may have been compromised. The company advised these vulnerable users to change their passwords and be careful about links to third party applications.
In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission charged that the social network put users' personal information at risk, while deceiving them about safeguards to protect data. This was the first time the FTC took action against a social networking company about faulty security. Twitter settled the case in 2010 by agreeing to take measures to increase user account security and to allow a third party to assess the company’s security program biannually for 10 years. What’s more, Twitter is barred for 20 years from misleading users about the extent to which it protects their privacy and personal information.
Want to know how easy it is to hack someone’s Twitter account? There’s a service that will do it for you. Check out http://loginthief.com/hack-twitter.php.
Loginthief outlines four easy steps to hack a Twitter account:
- Create a free account with this service.
- Login to this free account to gain access to your Twitter phishing links, or send Loginthief the target’s email address for them to hack.
- From your account, you can view all phished and hacked Twitter accounts.
- Login to your target’s Twitter account using the hacked information provided to you.
These steps are so easy to follow that even Kim K might be able to figure them out.
As a company, Twitter is a possible candidate for an IPO in 2013. If that’s truly the case, this company has some serious work to do to beef up its account security and user privacy. Meanwhile, businesses that make use of Twitter to build a following of loyal customers better rethink their strategies after seeing what just happened to Burger King and Jeep.