As the team at Fox News discovered—to its chagrin—earlier this week, security lapses on social networks can have wide-ranging consequences.
As we reported, persons unknown took control of the Fox News Politics Twitter feed in the early hours of July 4th, and started trying to spread rumors that the president had been assassinated.
(MORE: Obama Dead Hoax Sweeps Twitter After Fox News Feed Hack)
Luckily most people saw through the ruse, but it didn’t stop the #obamadead hashtag from spreading across the face of Twitter for many hours.
Today, security experts have declared Twitter less secure than some of its rivals, saying the lack of what’s called “two-factor” or “two-step” authentication is a glaring error on Twitter’s part.
If you’re worried about losing control of your account, here are some things you can do to prevent it:
First, make sure you have a strong password and that it is different from your passwords on other services.
(WATCH: Two Minute Video: How to Create Strong Online Passwords)
Second, switch on the additional security that’s available, but not active by default. Doing this is extremely easy:
Click 1: On your Twitter home page, click your username, shown in the top-right corner.
Click 2: In the menu that appears, click Settings.
Click 3: On the page that appears, scroll all the way to the bottom and look for a checkbox marked “Always use HTTPS” – make sure this is checked.
Click 4: Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
That’s it, you’re done.
From now on, your connection to Twitter will be encrypted, adding a mighty useful extra layer of security between you and the service itself.
In response to today’s accusations, Twitter did say that it intends to make this encrypted connection the default one day. But until that day comes, switching it on manually is the next best thing.
MORE: Secret Service Investigates Fake Obama Dead Fox News Tweets