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OMG! My Twitter Account Was Hijacked & Taken For Ransom! [UPDATED]

twitter hacked

UPDATED: November 1, 2012 @ 12:33PM

I have finally gotten my Twitter account back after three long weeks of endless support tickets, reaching out to strangers and calling in every favor possible. I’m sorry to say that without the help of a great friend with some high connections at Twitter, I might not have ever gotten it back.

I wish I had a great story to share about Twitter’s amazing support service but it seems that without a large paid advertising account, you are almost guaranteed to get nowhere. Take the tale below as a word of caution and heed the warning and tips shared at the end. You will need it!

It started out like any normal Thursday morning. I had a cup of tea, read some emails and made my daily smoothie before making the rounds on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

TweetDeck is my main Twitter tool and when I opened it up, I immediately noticed my username being mentioned in several tweets but there was something a little strange going on. It wasn’t MY username…it had been changed.

Twitter hacked

Those of you that follow or interact with me on Twitter know that my ID has always been @MelonieDodaro. I suddenly had a pit in my stomach as I scrolled down my list of recent tweets to see random tweets that I know I didn’t tweet.

As I continue to scroll, I see more questionable tweets with very suspicious activity. Tweets that would never get more than a wink were getting thousands of retweets and thousands of “favorites” – the less popular Twitter feature allowing you to save your favorite tweets.

I don’t know about you but I have never seen tweets with a near equal amount of retweets AND favorites. It simply doesn’t happen. So what does one do?

 

Twitter’s Got Fleas

I did what any normal person in 2012 does when they don’t know the answer to something: Google it! It didn’t take me long to find an article posted on Cnet at the beginning of this month about a recent security hole revelation that has left all accounts vulnerable to hacking. Apparently Twitter uses a password attempt limit based on IP address, leaving hackers the ability to keep attempting their hacking if they have access to multiple IPs addresses.

How wonderful.

More searching brings up an article from The Huffington Post reporting many Twitter hacker victims finding their accounts sold on the black market. And then I check my email and…

 

The Plot Thickens

I scroll through my recent emails and happen to see a message from a sender called “Twitter hacker”. As if things could get any stranger…

Twitter hackedI might have over 33,000+ followers but I still don’t see how all this trouble is worth committing (at least) a few cyber crimes. As puzzled and desperate as I was, replying to an ominous (and grammatically challenged) email from a potential Twitter hacking ransom-taker was not an action I felt was worth considering.

 

Twitter Support: My Last Resort

Despite the fact that I could still post to my Twitter through applications (sloppy hackers forgot about that), I wasn’t able to change my password, email or any other info that would grant me full access to my account. Because of this, I had no choice but to go to Twitter’s dreaded support form.

Twitter hackedI regret to inform you that I still do not have access to my account and it has been taken over since October 11, 2012. Being a social media marketer, this type of issue can spell disaster for my web traffic since Twitter is one of my preferred exposure tools. So how do you prevent this devastating disaster from happening to you? Here’s my advice…

 

4 Tips To Protect Your Twitter Account

  1. Pick A Secure Password – As tempting as it might be to choose something easy to remember, you are much better off with a secure, alphanumeric based password. In other words, use a thorough mix of capital and lower case letters, as well as numbers. Try to avoid using words and phrases, if possible.
  2. Disable Application Permissions – Every time you use a third-party app with your Twitter account for the first time, you will be prompted to give it permission to access your account. Once you approve, that permission remains there until you remove it. Go here if you want to learn more about connecting and revoking third party permissions.
  3. Avoid Strange DMs Like The Plague – You know all those weird Direct Messages (DMs) you get on Twitter saying, “OMG, I can’t believe what people are saying about you”? You shouldn’t need me to tell you to avoid those by now but for those of you that do – DON’T CLICK ON THEM IT! This is one feature Twitter either needs to clean up or ship out.
  4. Change Your Password Regularly – I know it seems like a pain but changing your password often will spare you the drama I’ve had to endure. As much as it sucks to have to keep remembering a new password, it is much better than the very real possibility of it being hacked and taken over. That sucks more…trust me!

Wish me luck in getting Twitter’s support in reclaiming my account!

Comments

  1. 752831347 says:

    I am sorry to hear you still don’t have control of your Twitter account back Melonie. Have they given you any kind of time frame for when you might get it back?

  2. 752831347 says:

    I am sorry to hear you still don’t have control of your Twitter account back Melonie. Have they given you any kind of time frame for when you might get it back?

  3. 752831347 says:

    I am sorry to hear you still don’t have control of your Twitter account back Melonie. Have they given you any kind of time frame for when you might get it back?

  4. 595511069 says:

    Hi Melanie.. I feel for you. I want to PM you who you should contact at twitter. they helped us resolve our issues fast. PM me (and I am for real ;)).

  5. 1453104564 says:

    Yep, my twitter account was hacked and I cannot change my password or access my account. I can only see it on my iPad for some reason. I’ve contacted twitter support but have received zero support from them… I’m about ready to stop with twitter all together!

  6. 1453104564 says:

    Yep, my twitter account was hacked and I cannot change my password or access my account. I can only see it on my iPad for some reason. I’ve contacted twitter support but have received zero support from them… I’m about ready to stop with twitter all together!

  7. 1453104564 says:

    Yep, my twitter account was hacked and I cannot change my password or access my account. I can only see it on my iPad for some reason. I’ve contacted twitter support but have received zero support from them… I’m about ready to stop with twitter all together!

  8. 514307111 says:

    Thanks, Melonie. This was very helpful.

  9. 100001828622582 says:

    I had similar problem while I was away travelling. I was successful in resetting my password and all seems fine for the mkoment. It is definitely unnerving. some of my loyal tribe did write to advise me that I had been hacked prior to my own knwledge of it.

    Thanks Melonie for the tips.

  10. 100001828622582 says:

    I had similar problem while I was away travelling. I was successful in resetting my password and all seems fine for the mkoment. It is definitely unnerving. some of my loyal tribe did write to advise me that I had been hacked prior to my own knwledge of it.

    Thanks Melonie for the tips.

  11. 507370035 says:

    Great news friends, I got my Twitter account back today!

  12. How safe is your Twitter account? - Emma Burford says:

    […] taken from Melonie Dodaro’s Social Media Tips of the Week and came from her recent blog post Twitter Hacked Taken Ransom this caught my eye when it landed in my inbox today, a MUST […]