The Internet can be a scary or glorious or place, depending on who you are and what you do on it. If you’re running a business, there is literally unlimited potential to reach anyone with a pulse and an Internet connection. The downside of that is that literally anyone with a pulse and an Internet connection can hijack your social media accounts (the same ones you use to reach out to the world!) and bend them their will. Don’t think it can’t happen to you: It infamously happened to Burger King and McDonald’s recently.
But before you start panicking and before we get into how to protect yourself from these shenanigans, check this out: After all was said and done with Burger King’s hack, the fast-food giant’s account gained an additional 60,000 followers.
Regardless, you probably don’t want to chance it. I don’t blame you. Well, the fine fine folks over at small-business law blog Free Enterprise has compiled a list of ways to make sure you don’t get snookered.
Rather than regurgitate what they already have listed, I’ll just delve deeper into a select few that I think deserve an extra bit of attention.
So, yeah: “Don’t click on links, especially ‘shortened links.’” Twitter can give off the impression that it’s much more secure than email, but guess what: It’s just as susceptible to attack as anything else on the Internet. You wouldn’t open an email with a strange subject from a name you don’t recognize, right? And yet, if we see a tweet from someone we don’t know and it has a link after some text that seems relevant to us, heck yes we’ll hop on it and see what it’s all about.
Find Law warns that you should “beware of shortened links, especially from accounts you don’t know well. You might not realize they’re bad until it’s too late.”
What’s the worst that can happen? Well, you can lose all your Internet gold.
That and you can find yourself hacked. Or with a computer virus. Or worse: both.
Read the full list over at Free Enterprise for more ways to keep yourself safe on the Twitters.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.