Twitter account hacked - what to do?

Hacked social media accounts are no longer a rarity. Besides hacked Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts in particular are frequent targets of cyber attacks. In some cases, changing your password is enough to regain access. However, most of the time it is necessary to find out the cause of the hack and take measures to prevent your Twitter account from being compromised again.

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Quick guide: Twitter account hacked

  1. Change Twitter password
  2. Check whether your email account is also affected by the hack, and if so, change your password and the email address you have on file with Twitter.
  3. In the Twitter settings under “Apps and session”, remove all linked third-party apps and end all Twitter sessions.
  4. If logging into your Twitter account is no longer possible, contact Twitter support.

Signs of a hacked account

Detecting if your twitter account has been hacked is not difficult. A first clue may be tweets that appear that you haven’t written yourself. If your account seems to send messages or follow users on its own, this could be down to a hack. An attack is most obvious if the Twitter account has been hacked and your access is blocked, meaning you can no longer log in. But don’t worry: Twitter will email you about new logins on previously unknown devices or in locations that are unusual for you, so you will quickly notice if your Twitter account has been hacked. Just make sure you check your email regularly.

How can a Twitter account be hacked?

Phishing

Attackers can gain access to your account in several ways. However, most hacking attacks are the result of so-called phishing mails. In this case, the victims receive mails in which the hackers pretend to be from Twitter, which they are not at all. The aim is to steal sensitive data from the email recipients. The hackers often use deceptively real login pages that save the user’s credentials when they type them in.

Session hijacking

Hackers also often use logging into publicly accessible WLAN networks as a gateway for their attacks. Session hijacking is aimed at tapping users’ session cookies after they have logged into social networks. Temporary login credentials are stored in these cookies, which allow attackers to access the corresponding accounts. This type of hack can even be performed almost automatically using browser plugins, which means that it is also widespread.

Email account hacked

However, it is also possible that the hackers did not hack your Twitter account directly at all. In fact, these methods mentioned above can be applied to email accounts as well. If your email account has been hacked, it is easy for the attackers to compromise the accounts linked to it as well by requesting new passwords from the online services linked to your email. For example, in one go, your Instagram account may be hacked as well.

Tip

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Step by step back to a secure account

If you suspect that your Twitter account has fallen victim to a hack attack, your course of action depends on whether you can still log into your account. If this is the case, you can follow our step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Change your password

The first thing to do is to change your Twitter password as soon as possible. Choose a secure password. If you have used your former Twitter password not only here but also for other logins, change your password there as well to minimize the risk of further hacking attacks.

Step 2: Verify email address

Also, be sure to find out if your email address has been hacked. If this is the case, you need to change the password with your email provider as well. Otherwise, it is possible for the hacker to access the online accounts linked to your mail again and again.

Step 3: Remove linked apps

It is possible that whoever hacked your Twitter account could already link it with third-party apps. Go to Twitter settings and select the “Apps and sessions” section. Now you will see a list of all the apps linked to your account. If one of these apps looks unfamiliar to you, you should delete it from the list. To do so, click the name of the app and select the “Revoke access” option.

Step 4: Log out of Twitter sessions

In the same settings, you can also find the information about your Twitter sessions. You will be shown a list of all the devices on which you have used Twitter. As a precaution, log out everywhere to make sure that any saved logins from the attackers are deleted. With your new password, you can log back in at any time.

Step 5: Enable two-factor authentication

Lastly, set up two-factor authentication. This procedure greatly increases the security of online accounts and ensures that your Twitter account is less likely to be compromised in the future. To do this, go to Twitter settings and tap “Settings and Privacy” -> “Security and Account Access” -> “Security” -> “Two-factor authentication”. Twitter offers you the option to choose between SMS, authentication app, and security key methods. Pick a method and follow the instructions displayed on Twitter.

If you are no longer able to log into your Twitter account, the hacker has probably already changed your login details. In this case, contact Twitter. Twitter support will then help you with reactivating your account.


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