How to Safely use Twitter

Last update 1/9/2015

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Twitter is becoming more popular everyday. With millions of people to be targeted, Twitter is definitely a battleground for security and privacy. This website has become a worldwide hit and consequently has become a target for those intent on spamming, spreading worms, and stealing private information. In this article, we will cover many techniques to allow you to safely use Twitter.

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

It is important that you follow the tips above to ensure your computer is secure. There have been Twitter Spam Attacks caused when malware infects a computer and gives control of the user’s Twitter account to a spammer. The spammer then posts messages on Twitter offering everything from Free items to pictures of celebrities, all appearing to be posted by the infected user. If one of your friends clicks on the offer, they instantly get infected, repeating the cycle of malware propagation.

Access the Real Twitter

Always make sure you are at a real Twitter log in page when you access their site. Do not count on Twitter links in email or on web pages to access the real Twitter website.

Think before Clicking on Links

There have been several viruses that have hit Twitter users, many of which have caused links to malware on Twitter. It is important that you exercise care before clicking on any links. Twitter has added a automatic link screening service, but this service could be bypassed. Be especially cautious in clicking links from direct messages.

Shortened links that do not fully disclose the destination site should be expanded before being clicked. You can expand short links with a browser plugin such as Linkpeelr for Chrome or visit a site like longurl.org or unshorten.it Virustotal.com checks shortened url’s for malware. Consult our How to Secure Your Internet Browser article for details. Internet Explorer 9Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Twitter HTTPS Setting, Secure Browsing

Enable Two Factor Authentication

Enable Two Factor Authentication so a login will require you to check your smartphone for a pin code. This only takes a minute and would have prevented many Twitter hacks.

Secure Twitter Browsing

As with the rest of the web, browsing a website using a secure connection is always preferable. You can set Twitter to automatically use secure HTTPS browsing by doing the following:

  1. Click your Twitter Account name on the upper right hand corner
  2. Select Settings
  3. Check Always use HTTPS
  4. Click Save

Sharing Sensitive Information

The following information is sensitive and may not be desired to be shared with others. Thieves can use this information as well those trying to piece together your identity or those attempting to hack your passwords. Think twice before including any of this information in your Tweets.

  • Who your friends are
  • Vacations or times away from home
  • Real birthday, at least no year
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Pets names
  • Children’s names
  • Address
  • Phone numbers
  • Schools attended
  • Religious views
  • Political views
  • Tweet Location
  • Changing Passwords
  • Moving
  • Switching Servers

Consider having separate work and personal Twitter accounts. Be sure not to Tweet anything that could offend your employer.

Twitter Passwords and Access

It is important to follow our standard password suggestions. Consult our article on How to create, store, and use secure passwords.

Removing Unnecessary Twitter Applications

Twitter stores access credentials for 3rd-party applications. This allows them to send Tweets. You should review the list of applications allowed access to your account and remove unnecessary applications.

  1. Click your Twitter Account name on the upper right hand corner
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click on Applications tab
  4. Click Revoke Access on unnecessary applications

We have covered many areas in which you can increase the security and privacy of your Twitter usage. We suggest you implement as many of the suggestions as quickly as possible to maximize your safety on Twitter.

Scan your Twitter feed for Spam

Use a site like TwitBlock to look for spammy followers and bots.

Author: SafeGadget

Teaching users on how to secure their computers and gadgets.

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