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250,000 Twitter User Details Stolen: What to Do

twitter-bird-blue-on-whiteIf you’re one of the 200 million Twitter users, you’ll be upset to hear that Twitter has had 250,000 users’ passwords, usernames, emails and other data stolen from its servers. So what should you do?

First, change your password. If someone has your password they can easily impersonate you on Twitter – which puts all of your followers at risk. A hacker could easily post a link on your profile to a site containing malware, and almost undoubtedly some of your followers would click it, spreading problems.

Twitter issued the following advice for choosing a strong password, which we strongly agree with:

“Make sure you use a strong password – at least 10 (but more is better) characters and a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – that you are not using for any other accounts or sites.”

You can change your password by going directly to this page: Twitter password change (https://twitter.com/settings/password)

Second, change your other passwords. If you commit the cardinal sin of reusing passwords, if someone has your Twitter password and your email address, they could access your account on numerous services across the web.

It’s even worse if you use that password for your email account – that would enable them to gain far more information about you and your accounts than you would want.

If you follow just one piece of advice from this article, make sure you choose a unique password for your email account.

Thirdly, ignore any emails you receive from Twitter in future, particularly if they have links to password verification pages. These messages will almost certainly be from hackers pretending to be Twitter (this is called a phishing attack). This will allow them to get your password again in future.

It’s unfortunate that this is the direction the web is going, but it just means that we all need to be more vigilant. Some of the relaxed attitudes we had towards security in the past must be changed as we enter a more dangerous digital world.

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