A few days ago, I received a suspicious-looking email saying that I should log-in to my Twitter account to change my password. I didn’t really give it much thought because I’m always weary about such emails. I’ve just become so accustomed to them that my initial thinking is that it’s just another phishing scam.
However, when I tried using my Twitter account on HootSuite, I couldn’t get in. I tried going on the website and used other apps, and I was still locked out. That’s when I panicked.
No Twitter? Really?
I wanted to know immediately if this was for real – and if all Twitter accounts were having the same issue.
Thankfully, the other Twitter accounts that I manage for clients and my business weren’t affected. So, I only had my personal account to worry about.
I checked my Twitter stream to see if there were Tweets posted on my behalf that were not mine. Yes, I was a bit paranoid due to stories of other Twitter accounts being hacked and used that way.
Again, there was relief when I found no suspicious activity on my Twitter stream.
By then, I decided to search for the original email that I received to verify that it was really from Twitter. From there, I ended up changing my password.
Later, I found out the back story: Yes, Twitter was hacked big time and approximately 250,000 users were affected . Considering how huge Twitter is, with approximately 100 million daily users (2011), 250,000 doesn’t seem much. So yes, it could have been worse.
And, if you’re wondering why anyone would bother hacking Twitter accounts, well, apparently, Twitter passwords can be stolen and sold for about $20 in the black market. If that’s true, who would pay $5,000,000 for 250,000 Twitter passwords?
Well, I’m just glad that my Twitter account is off the market now. I hope yours is kept safe too. All should be fine in our Twitterverse.
Shai Coggins is the Manager and Chief Digital Media Specialist at Vervely, an Australia-based agency serving local and international clients. One of the company's main clients is Microsoft. Shai has been featured in a number of media due to her online work, including being named as one of Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list (2009).