One wrong click on a seemingly harmless website or logging into a third-party application can accidentally expose your Twitter credentials to hackers.
This is a tough lesson entertainer Taylor Swift had to learn, after her Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked by the hacker group Lizard Squad in 2015, according to Yahoo News. "My Twitter got hacked but don't worry," Swift wrote on Tumblr. "Twitter is deleting the hacker tweets and locking my account until they can figure out how this happened and get me new passwords."
"You have to fix this immediately," Lincoln Spector wrote for PC World. "When someone else is sending out tweets and DMs under your name, you're in danger of losing your credibility."
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On Twitter's support website, the company states that your account may be compromised if any of these five things have happened: Users notice tweets from their account that they haven't made, have seen direct messages sent out from their account, have witnessed odd behaviors from their account such as blocking users they haven't blocked, receiving a notification that their account information has changed without making the change themselves, or noticing their password no longer works.
If your account has been hacked, Twitter lists four steps toward fixing the problem.
Change your password ASAP.
The first thing to do if your Twitter page has been hacked is to change your password immediately, by heading over to the password page, or requesting a password reset when you log out. Try choosing a stronger password, rather than "123456" or "password." Twitter also has a troubleshooting page, if you aren't able to directly log in.
Secure your email address.
After changing your password, make sure that the email address you use to login is secure and you are the only one who can access your email. Going to the account settings tab, or changing your email from your mobile device, can help you in this endeavor. This post will provide more information on how to update your address.
Revoke access to third-party apps.
Many people use third-party applications to see who is following them, search Twitter analytics, and more. Some are extremely useful. But not every third-party app was created equal. While logged into Twitter, go to the apps page in your settings. If there are any third-party apps you don't recognize, revoke their access.
Update your passwords for the third-party apps you use.
If you have found an external app you use often, make sure that you update your old password in the application.
After performing these four tasks, your account should be secure. If you are still seeing issues with your account, Twitter offers support requests for its users. To prevent future hackers from preying on your account, Twitter recommends that users give their accounts a strong password, never give out information to third-party apps, and scan your computer for viruses.