Last week I had to spend a few hours cleaning out a Twitter account which had become infested with a vast amount of spam. Originating from Brazil, it clogged up the timeline and so prevented my client from seeing genuine Tweets from people she really does follow. It wasn’t just the odd tweet in Portuguese, it was running into 100s at a time.
The account’s password had almost certainly been hacked. This most likely dated back to May, when over 55,000 Twitter accounts and passwords were posted on a public website. This was well publicised at the time, with Twitter advising at risk users to change their passwords immediately.
Clicking Unknown Links
Another possibility is that my client clicked on a link within a Tweet leading her to a malicious site or piece of software. As with Facebook or email, the rule here is that you should never click on a link sent from someone you don’t know personally. If it is from someone you know but it contains only the link and no other comment, treat it with equal suspicion.
Take Immediate Action
For my client, this breach of her Twitter resulted in her account following over 1,000 Twitter spammer – fake Twitter accounts. At one point the spammers were also posting spam from my client’s account, which simply compounds the problem and requires immediate action.
If this happens to you, you need to take the following steps at once:
- Change your password immediately to prevent any further unauthorised access
- Check your list of who you follow for any suspicious accounts
- You should also Block the account and Turn off Retweets to be doubly sure this spam never appears in your timeline again
- Check your list of who you follow for any suspicious accounts and repeat the above process
To conclude, you should treat ALL your passwords with care. Not just Twitter and all your social media accounts, but every password you have as they are precious to all your online security and the security of your accounts.
- Always use different passwords for each account
- Use a mixture of alphanumeric characters to make them harder to break
- Change your passwords regularly
- Ensure you keep your computer’s security up to date and perform regular scans using a malware programme
- Monitor all your social media accounts regularly for any unusual activity, particularly if you don’t use them on a daily or weekly basis,
If you have any questions or comments on this, or any other social media issues, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.