Networks associated with CBS News Twitter accounts were hijacked this past weekend. '60 Minutes' and '48 Hours' accounts were both taken over by hijackers. Once controlled, hijackers sent out a number of false messages posing as news channel correspondents.
Today, it has been revealed that the hijackers were pro-Syrian protestors. The tweets that were sent out accused President Obama of supporting Al-Qaeda, and some of the tweets claimed that the US was giving weapons to Al Qaeda. Not only were the messages damaging when spread, but the tweets contained links that lead directly to malware.
The Group Responsible
The group that claimed responsibility for the Twitter takeover was a well-known group called "The Syrian Electronic Army." This group of hackers has previously hacked into other news outlets including Reuters, NBC, and NPR (amongst others). If these news outlets can be hacked via Twitter (and even through news websites), your Twitter account is just as susceptible to hacks.
Granted, you aren't likely to be targeted by any major hacker organizations (unless you happen to be a reporter with a weak password), but there are some things that you can do to make sure that your account is hack-proof. Take a look at these tips.
How to Prevent Twitter Hacks
1. Change your password. Every month, make sure to change your password. As tempting as it might be, don't use the password for every site that you have to log into. Use a tricky combination too. Don't use your address, phone number, or birthday -- but you already knew that (well, you should).
2. Consider a password manager. Password managers can help you create passwords that are really hard to guess. Plus, managers store your passwords for you, so that you don't actually have to remember that password. Just make sure to use a reliable password manager.
3. While not Twitter related, if you use Google at all (mail, docs, whatever) make sure that you take advantage of the Google two-step process. This password process will ensure that your password is super secure.
It's All About the Password
The bigger a company is (or the more people that have access to a Twitter account), the harder it is to take control of that account. Passwords that are spread and passed around amongst a large group of people are typically easier to find and uncover. This is how organizations like the one listed above find Twitter passwords.
My advice is this: if you are going to have an open policy Twitter account that allows more than three people to access an account, make sure that the password you use is doubly secure. But, more importantly, restrict Twitter account access, so that just a few people can tweet.
Are You A Target?
More likely than not, you don't have to worry about any serious hacks. Hackers like to go after news organizations because these outlets reach so many people all at once. Still, you do need to protect your account just in case someone is trying to hack into your Twitter profile.