Twitter account been hacked? Change your password (and keep your pants on)

Twitter sent emails to thousands of users telling them their accounts were hacked -- but they weren't. Now everyone's confused about what they should do.

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We’ve certainly explored two-factor authentication among other security measures, and we continue to introduce features, such as https, to help users keep their accounts secure. This support article and this blog post offer additional information and tips.

Translation: Either a) we don’t know, or b) we know but we’re not willing to say.

Granted, implementing two factors on Twitter would be a bit trickier than on Facebook or Google, where presumably most people log in using a single genuine identity. Twitter on the other hand, encourages multiple identities. I know of one privacy wonk who has at least six. Tying six identities to one smart phone number makes things a little harder to manage for Twitter, though hardly impossible.

Having an attacker gain access to your Twitter account may not seem like a big deal, and for many people it isn’t. But if you link from Twitter to other accounts, like your blog or email address, that gives the attacker more ways to get to you. If you use the same password to log in to other sites – or use Twitter itself to authenticate you, as many sites do -- it becomes something you need to seriously worry about. 

Just ask Wired’s Mat Honan, who found his digital life eviscerated by hackers who simply coveted his @mat Twitter handle, then proceeded to gain access to his Apple and Amazon accounts.

Twitter offers advice on how to keep your identity safe here. If you’re unsure about whether you’ve been compromised, the best advice I can give is to log in to Twitter directly and change your password. Do it right now, I’ll wait. And keep your pants handy; you never know when you might need them.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

Facebook's 'man in the middle' attack on our data

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