Twitter Hacks and You.

Last week Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked. The little darlings who hijacked it told the world that Burger King had been sold to McDonalds. That was on Monday.
On Tuesday Jeep’s Twitter account was hacked and according to the hijackers, it had been sold to Cadillac. It was presumed the hijackers of both accounts were from the same camp; perhaps Annoymous and LulzSec.
Burger King Twitter account hijacked
Both Cadillac and McDonalds were quick to respond that they weren’t responsible.
After the brands had the Twitter accounts back within their control Jeep tweeted, “Hacking: Definitely not a #Jeep thing. We’re back in the driver’s seat!” To which Burger Kings replied, ‘.@Jeep Glad everything is back to normal.”
Jeep came back with , ‘.@burgerking Thanks BK. Let us know if you want to grab a burger and swap stories – we’ll drive.’
It was a good, pithy exchange but I bet back at headquarters things weren’t so lighthearted.
Fingers quickly started wagging at the Twitter overlords. ‘How could you allow this to happen?’ And I’m sure that is a question that is getting a lot of attention at Twitter headquarters right about now…and at Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, Apple etc. It should. Piracy and user security are huge issues for all of them.
The question we might want to ask ourselves though is, ‘What can we do on our end, to hang on to our social media accounts, financial and personal information? As it turns out, there is a laundry list for each platform that will help you and your business wake day after day without threat.

The easiest and most immediate preventative measure is to change your passwords at least once a quarter.

  1. Use different passwords for different accounts. Think about it, if your email password gets hacked and it is the same one that you use for Facebook, Amazon and your bank you are very likely to be waving farewell to your savings and maybe even your community.
  2. Numbers, symbols, upper and lower case combos are good. Make it a minimum of 10 characters.
  3. Avoid using your dog’s name, your birth date, and your nickname, unless you can find a way to encrypt it.¬†Example: find a password that you’re going to be able to remember, and then shift all of the letters over one key to the left or right on the keyboard. So that the word “muffins” becomes “nydduba”. Someone who stumbles upon your password will just see a jumbled mess of letters, but you will actually know it’s the name of your cat.
  4. Make the passwords complex. The days of ‘password123’ or ‘123456’ are over. (Read more on this post from PRWire, Worst Passwords of 2012.)
We all know by now that the internet is not the land of prancing unicorns and glimmering rainbows. In fact when you step up and put your faith in the integrity of the mega online communities, there looms an inherent risk, or two or three. Yes folks, on the web there be orks and trolls and zombies.
So arm yourself as best you can with common sense, a cyber sword or two and some iron clad passwords.