|from Google images|
I opened my Direct Messages and saw hundreds of bogus messages sent out in my name. As fast as I deleted them more kept coming. They all said the same thing: Did you see what this Tweet said about you? This was followed by a shortened link. Clicking that link took someone to a Romanian web site that promptly stole that person's password and sent the same message to everyone of their followers.
The account had been so screwed up I couldn't even sign in to change my password. Apparently, the phishers had changed my password blocking me from my own account. Eventually, I managed to get to a Twitter help screen to submit a form to change my password. Of course, that meant changing it for several other sites, too. And, just to be safe I changed the password on my Google account so this blog couldn't be hijacked or spammed. Next, after about half a dozen attempts I managed to deactivate my Twitter account. The hope is by changing passwords and closing down the account for awhile, the computer that was flooding the world with my name would go somewhere else. I also deactivated all third party apps that interacted with Twitter.
Perhaps you are wondering why don't I just move on and forget Twitter? Simple: promotion. Twitter is an important source of traffic to satisfying retirement blog. I use it to promote new and old posts on this blog. I take interesting articles from my two daily e-newspapers and provide links. I exchange tweets with followers. So, while I can live without it, losing Twitter would hurt my blog's growth.
Update: After waiting several days, I reactivated my account. So far, so good. But, I will never again click on a link that appears in a direct message...too much spam and too easy to compromise my account.
What to do if this happens to you:
- Change your twitter password
- Revoke all third party apps
- Tweet apologies to all followers
- Tweet specific message to be on lookout for
- If this doesn't send the spammer packing, deactivate your account (have up to 30 days to restart without losing followers and Twitter name)
- Wish the spammer a painful and near-fatal skin condition
How about you? Ever been hacked, or password stolen? Ever had anyone mess with your on-line bill paying? Share your experiences and what the outcome was. We can all learn from each other.