Amid shocking internal revelations about content moderation practices and massive data breaches, Twitter is finding it hard to stay out of the public eye.
This time the culprit is last week’s cyberattack, which is over 200 million Twitter user logins (opens in a new tab) be compromised. In particular, email addresses used to set up accounts were stolen and given away for free on a hacker forum.
This is especially worrying for those vulnerable users who may regularly use security tools such as top VPN services and feel that their online anonymity is effectively protected.
Recent events are certainly not the first – or worst – case that the bird icon has been caught up in such a troubling data breach. Twitter vulnerabilities actually existed long before Elon Musk took over.
However, similar incidents are likely to increase in the near future given the dramatic spate of layoffs that followed the new leadership.
That’s why some privacy experts shared some useful tips with TechRadar to help you better protect your Twitter profile. Here’s what they say.
Twitter database leaks for free with 235,000,000 records. The database contains 235,000,000 unique records of Twitter users and their email addresses and unfortunately leads to many hacking attacks, targeted phishing and doxxing. This is one of the most significant leaks in history. pic.twitter.com/kxRY605qMZJanuary 4, 2023
Twitter Leaks – What’s at stake for users?
“The leaking of the email addresses of over 200 million Twitter users is a serious and dangerous cybersecurity breach with the potential for the perpetrators to gain access to further sensitive information,” said Ceri Shaw, Chief Delivery Officer at the Scottish Digital Skills Academy Code Clan (opens in a new tab).
These stolen email addresses can be used for target victims in larger phishing campaigns, for example. Phishing attacks have indeed gained momentum over the past few years.
Doxxingthe act of posting private and personally identifiable information about a particular person online is another huge risk of such a significant leak, according to a cybercrime firm Hudson’s Rock (opens in a new tab).
Legal director of a British data protection company Hayes Connor (opens in a new tab) he also believes that hacked accounts may suffer more identity theft, credit fraud as well as banking or financial fraud.
However, money, privacy and reputation are not the only things users are exposed to.
Public disclosure of such personal information may also lead to greater emotional stress and bow. All of this can then have a more lasting impact on the victims’ overall mental health.
“The news of one of the biggest data breaches of all time is extremely disturbing, especially of this scale,” Forrest explained.
“The public places great trust in social media platforms such as Twitter, expecting their data to be handled securely. It is worrying that Twitter has yet to comment considering how many people this may be affected.”
How to protect your Twitter account
Whether you’re worried about your personal information being exposed or want to secure your Twitter profile from future data breaches, there are a few actions you should take now to secure your most sensitive data.
First, you should find out if your data has been compromised through sites like haveibeenpwned.com.
Hayes Connor’s lawyers advise victims beware of fraudulent emails, texts and calls because they may be phishing scams. They also recommend that you do not provide any personal information or click on links.
You should also consider contacting your bank to investigate suspicious activity. Similarly, experts recommend initiating a fraud alert with your credit company.
Shaw from CodeClan also said pay attention to any suspicious activity like password reset emails, unusual pop-ups on their devices, and targeted phishing emails. If so, you really should review your security settings and update your passwords with hard-to-guess combinations as quickly as possible.
“Passwords should contain a combination of special characters, letters and numbers and should not be related to any personal information,” Shaw explained, advising you to buy one of the best password management tools to help you create and manage more secure logins over time.
“Looking forward, Twitter needs to thoroughly investigate how this was allowed to happen and implement measures to minimize the impact of any possible future cybersecurity breach.”