1/6/2009
01:41 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary

Twitter Hacks Raise Social Net Security Flags

If you use Twitter, re-set your password before you do anything else. Then give some thought to what this week's Twitter hack says about how we use social networks, both in business and personally.



If you use Twitter, re-set your password before you do anything else. Then give some thought to what this week's Twitter hack says about how we use social networks, both in business and personally.Social network Twitter's dual security breaches this week --a phishing campaigned aimed at Twitter users, and the compromise of more than 30 high-visibility Twitter accounts, including those of President-elect Obama and CNN -- offer more than a couple of security opportunities:

1. Re-set your Twitter password immediately. That's good advice anytime, and for all social networks. This time password resetting is endorsed by Twitter itself in a blog, although Twitter's suggestion is to do so if you're having trouble logging on. It's good practice to do a password reset whether you're having trouble getting to your Twitter account or not, and here's the Twitter password reset page.

2. Think about how you and your co-workers use social networks for your business. Then think about the trust that's necessary for those uses to be effective.

Twitter offers a quick, free, focused way to stay in touch with customers, and have them stay in touch with you. The very brevity of tweets requires both parties to get right to the point; the immediacy of the exchange really can facilitate the exchange of business information and opinion.

But like all social networks, Twitter carries with it an invisible risk: it's all too easy to trust everything that comes your way in a social netspace, in a way that many of us wouldn't (and none of us should) trust items appearing in our e-mail queues or on unfamiliar Web sites.

After all, everything that comes to you by tweet, or on your Facebook wall, or any other social networking site or service is -re-screened, right? You get to choose who you do and don't get tweets and wallwords ad whatever from, right?

Clearly not, nor was this week's Twitter trashing the first reminder that Twitter's no less vulnerable to the dangers any networked technology or tool offers.

Dangers -- and just plain annoyances: How much Twitter spam have you received?

That said -- and another reminder to reset your passwords -- Twitter, Facebook and other social networks have a lot to offer you and you business. To get a good sense of just how much, along with some excellent tips on how to use them safely and smartly, take a look at bMighty's Jennifer Moline's guide to Getting Started With Online Networking.

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