The Hootsuite CEO’s Social Media Account was Hacked. Will You Be Next?
Ask yourself – what does the co-founder of Twitter, the CEO of Facebook, and the CEO of Hootsuite all have in common? They each have an executive role in an extremely successful social media corporation and they’ve each had their personal social media accounts hacked this year.
Recently Ryan Holmes, another CEO of a social media company, namely the content management system Hootsuite, had his personal Twitter account compromised by a hacker group known as OurMine. This group is believed to be the same one responsible for hacking the personal accounts of Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, and Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, earlier this summer. It makes you wonder what exactly made it possible for the accounts of some of the most influential men in social media to be hacked. According to Ryan Holmes’ response to his Twitter hack, it was due to the process of app authing.
App authing, which is a term for granting access to multiple social media accounts through one app, has grown in popularity. It offers the convenience of posting an update across the increasing number of social media platforms all at once instead of posting individual updates. Holmes’ hack had nothing to do with the individual security of his Twitter or Hootsuite accounts. Instead, the Twitter infiltration stemmed from a hack inside of his FourSquare account that he’d forgotten had granted access to his Twitter account via app authing. After learning of the Foursquare hack, Holmes later confirmed that this was the root cause of his Twitter hack.
How to Prevent Your Social Media Accounts from Getting Hacked
Reportedly, Mark Zuckerburg used the password “dadada” for his Facebook account for years. This simple password of a combined two letters contributed to his account being compromised, as it was incredibly easy for hackers to break the password. The lesson we take away from this incident is that the more obscure and complicated the password is, the greater the chance you have of keeping your account safe. Use a mixture of numbers, letters, and special characters to create a unique password for each separate account you need. No two passwords should ever be the same.
An article published by Entrepreneur India suggests paying attention and being wary of websites and blog subscriptions that ask for your information. It’s often the sites that aren’t popular that have the lowest level of protection. If a security breach were to happen on a platform that you utilized the same email and password as your other accounts, hackers would have an easy time performing a reverse lookup and getting access to your other accounts and information as well.
Even the strongest password out there can’t prevent you from being hacked if you share it with others. Try to avoid clicking on the “save login information” button when websites ask if you’d like it to be remembered, and keep track of the devices you log on and log off of. Also, don’t let the convenience factor of app authing pressure you into granting access to your social media accounts on multiple apps because as you’ve learned, it’s very easy to access information through unused apps you may have forgotten about.
Increase Your Account Security
One way to detect a security breach quickly is to change your privacy settings to notify you any time strange activity occurs on your account or any time someone logs into your account. For example, if you’ve never traveled to Chicago, Illinois but receive an email notifying you that your account has been accessed there, you can change your password immediately to prevent further infiltration.
Beware of Scams
According to CNN Money, phishing attempts on social media networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn has increased by 150 percent over the past year. Fake online contests, fake comments on popular accounts, and fake advertisements are some of the top ways accounts are being hacked via scamming. Hackers can even access your financial information and steal your identity if you are careless about where you provide sensitive information.
The most important thing to remember if your account is hacked is that time is of the essence. The longer it takes for you to realize your account has been taken over, the bigger the opportunity hackers have for gaining access to all of your private information and communicating on your behalf. Keep your passwords unique, change them constantly, keep them private, and beware of scams that could lead to a hack in your account.
Madeline Neal is a senior at LSU studying Mass Communication. When she’s not taking selfies with her dog, Emma, you’ll find her at a local bakery eating chocolate chip cookies. In her spare time, she watches reruns of “The Office” and hopes one day to live in New York City.
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