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Ten tips for staying safe on Twitter

Last weekend, there was another Twitter security breach — a phishing attack. As the Twitter micro blogging service comes into its fourth year of existence, it is more popular than ever, especially for businesses, which makes it a perfect target for cyber criminals. The nature of Twitter has always meant to be very open, so what are the best ways to protect yourself?

Twitter Safety

1. Limit what you say

It’s easy to tweet about where you are and what you’re doing, but do you think about who is listening? What might seem like a harmless comment initially could be used to piece together a picture of your whereabouts and plans! Unless your tweets are protected, they are going to be out in the public domain. Fraudsters can use this information in many ways.

2. Be careful what you click on

Be suspicious about links that you are sent and posted. Many people use URL shortners on Twitter, so it is often very difficult to check what you are clicking on. AVG LinkScanner can help check suspicious links, but remember: if you are in doubt, don’t click!

3. Be vigilant

Watch out for suspicious activity in your tweet stream and inbox. If you start receiving strange messages or your friends are being unusually spammy, it might be worth double checking that their account hasn’t been compromised.

4. Think before you tweet

Remember, the whole world can see what you write and even though tweets can be deleted, they are still searchable. Don’t tweet when you’re in a state of mind that might have you saying something you’ll regret later. While it is funny thinking about it, the consequences are often not as amusing. Additionally, by including ‘hash tags,’ you increase the search for your chosen term, so think about who will be searching for your tweets.

5. Don’t be too trusting

You can never be sure the stranger you ‘networked’ with via Twitter is who they say they are. Don’t be easily befriended by strangers on Twitter who may not have your best interests at heart.

6. Check third party applications

There are hundreds of applications out there for Twitter. Before signing up to one of these, check to see that they are safe. You can do this by looking for mentions of the tools on trusted sites. Remember that the apps generally require your password and log in details so be extra cautious before sharing this information.

The same basic rules that apply to other social networking sites can also be applied to Twitter, so don’t forget the following too:

7. Password information

Use different passwords, or better still, set up separate email accounts for your social networks. That way, if you stop your account, you can easily delete the email account too. Be mindful of where you are sending your updates and the types of security questions you set.

8. Signing in

Check your browser settings on your computer so that your information is not stored for anyone else to see if you are on a shared computer!

9. Watch out for phishing attacks

As Twitter gets more popular, the likelihood of phishing attacks grows. Be aware of attempts to get users to give up their login and passwords by tricking them with fake tweets and direct messages.

10. Being mobile

Be mindful about who might have access to your mobile phone. If you have a Twitter application, make sure you log out once you’re finished with it.

Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager AVG (AU/NZ) advises, “As with any online activity be smart, be aware, be careful, and you can stay as safe on Twitter as anywhere else online.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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