Dear Twitter Users, Please Stop Getting Hacked


Earlier today, Stephen Fry tweeted that:

He is right, of course. Twitter's direct messaging feature is almost completely useless because of the amount of spam, but that is only Twitter's fault to a very small degree. Twitter does an ok job of suspending and/or deleting the accounts of spammers. That is what the "report spam" feature is for.

It is users that bear the bulk of the responsibility for Twitter spam. Users get hacked and they get hacked because they do not take the time to educate themselves about hacking / phishing and how to avoid it.

Basically, users need to be careful when clicking on Twitter links. I'm not saying never click on links, Twitter can lead you to some wonderful news stories and other information but if you click on a link and that link asks you for a password or user ID, don't enter it. Close the window, report it as spam and move on.

Most of the time phishing happens through your direct message box. If you get a direct message asking if "this is you in this photo" or video, or a message that tells you that "this person is saying horrible things about you on their blog" or more recently messages that say things like "is this you" or "is this it" followed by a link, don't ever click on them. Let the person know they've been hacked or unfollow them or report them for spam. Those links are bait and clicking on them (especially if you then give up your ID and password) is how people get hacked and then proceed to send out direct messages of their own.

Twitter provides more information here and here and here. You can also find good articles at Trafcom News Blog, Mashable, ZDNet and elsewhere.

If you get hacked there is a very good chance that it is your fault, if you get a lot of spam on Twitter it is probably not Twitter but the people you follow who are to blame and getting hacked will very likely make your follower count go down and could result in your account being suspended or deleted entirely. Please help make Twitter a better place, and protect yourself by learning how to avoid phishing and hacking attacks. I promise it won't take long to understand.

If enough people do this, then maybe we can start using Twitter's Direct Message feature for direct messages?!
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