MICRO-MESSAGING SERVICE Twitter is warning its journalist users to go carefully and not fall victim to hackers like the Syrian Electronic Army.
Following some rather high profile account takeovers at the Associated Press, the BBC and the Guardian, Twitter has encouraged its users to observe best practice and sent out a long list of hints and tips for keeping accounts out of the wrong hands.
Buzzfeed has seen the list of advice and rather helpfully reproduced it. It makes a number of sensible recommendations, plus some that won't really work with journalists.
This one, for example, strays away from best practices for journalists, but probably makes sense somewhere where there is an abundance of computers.
"Designate one computer to use for Twitter. This helps keep your Twitter password from being spread around," it advises. "Don't use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection."
The advice is serious, though. Some high profile targets have been taken down in recent weeks, and the Syrian Electronic Army has threatened to continue its campaign as long as its own Twitter accounts keep getting shut down.
Password choice should be a key consideration. Twitter says that users should go for complex multi-character passwords, or a collection of random words. Its example is "hewn cloths titles yachts refine". We prefer "correct horse battery staple" ourselves, but it's a matter of taste.
The attacks apparently have shaken Twitter and it warns that it expects more to follow.
"Please help us keep your accounts secure," it adds. "There have been several recent incidents of high-profile news and media Twitter handles being compromised. We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organisations will continue to be high value targets to hackers." µ
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