After a series of hackings on the websites of newspapers The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Twitter is the latest victim, revealing Friday evening that about 250,000 Twitter users' information had been accessed, including usernames, email addresses, and encrypted versions of passwords. Any users affected will have received an email from Twitter prompting them to create a new Twitter account.
Even for those who did not receive an email from Twitter warning of a possible information breach, take this opportunity to protect your online presence with extra security with these measures:
- Use a strong password — No, "password123" does not count as an acceptable key to any online account. Use at least 10 digits with a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Stay away from passwords that include personal information such as mother's maiden name or birthplace.
- Change passwords often — Don't wait until a breach has been publicly disclosed to change passwords. Update an account's passwords every few months.
- Don't reuse passwords — You have a lot of online accounts, yes, but don't recycle the same password for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and so on. Hackers know that many people continue to use one passkey across multiple accounts and will have instant access to more of your sensitive information than the original site where the breach took place.
- Disable Java — The US Department of Homeland Security has identified the source of many hackings to have stemmed with holes in Java script. Close the security gap and disable Java from your browser. In Safari, it's as easy as selecting Preferences > Security and unchecking Enable Java.
Take charge of your digital well-being with more of our tips on protecting your online data.