Ask Deemable Tech: Help! My Twitter Account Was Hacked!
David writes, "The other day I received a direct message on Twitter from a colleague of mine that said, 'Is this what you were talking about?' and a link to a web page. Like a dummy, I clicked the link. It took me to some random web page that didn't have anything to do with me. I messaged him back, and he had no idea what I was talking about. Then, I started getting messages from other friends on Twitter asking what I was talking about. Somebody hacked our Twitter accounts! What can we do to fix it?"
Ouch! You're not alone though. In fact, Amanda Bynes, Britney Spears, Justin Beiber, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Donald Trump, Burger King, Jeep, NBC News, the Associated Press, the New York Times, and even President Obama have all had their Twitter accounts hacked. Anthony Weiner, MTV, BET and Chipotle all lied about their Twitter accounts being hacked, each for their own reasons, but let's not get into all that.
So, how do you fix it? There's a lot to do, but we'll help you get your Twitter account straightened out and secure.
The first things you need to do are log into your Twitter account and change your Twitter password. In case you may have downloaded a virus, you may want to do that from a different computer than the one you normally use. Make sure to pick a strong password, and make sure you change your password in your password management system (like Lastpass, Dashlane or 1Password) too. Also, in case you did download a virus, make sure to update your virus software and run a full scan.
If you can't log into your Twitter account because the hacker changed the password, submit a password reset request. You should receive an email with a link to change your password. If you don't, it's because the hacker also changed the email address associated with your Twitter account. Now you'll have to contact Twitter with a support ticket to get access to your account.
Once you've gotten into your account and changed your password, you want to revoke the access of any and all third party applications that have permissions on your Twitter account. Go to Settings and click Apps. You should find a list of all of the applications that you and the hackers have given access to your account. You could just revoke the permission of the applications that you don't recognize, but the smartest thing to do is revoke all of them and then add them back one by one.
Now that you're finished revoking your apps' access to your Twitter account, start adding them back. You'll need to go into each app and sign into Twitter again. Make sure that you change your password on any apps that have it saved. You will get locked out of Twitter for too many failed attempts to login if you don't.
Finally, be a friend, and make sure to delete the direct messages that your account sent out while it was compromised. Also, make sure to send another direct message letting the person know that if they clicked the link they'll need to get their account straightened out too. You might want to post something publicly on your Twitter feed as well.