Avoid clicking on every DM link: Security experts explain how Twitter accounts are hacked

Twitter only contacts users in-app or via an email sent from an @twitter.com email address.

Avoid clicking on every DM link: Security experts explain how Twitter accounts are hacked
NEW DELHI: With the Twitter accounts of megastar Amitabh Bachchan and singer Adnan Sami getting hacked, security researchers have warned that users should think twice before clicking on the links received in the Twitter Direct Message (DMs).

While Bachchan's Twitter account was hacked late on Monday, the hackers took control of Sami's Twitter account on Tuesday.

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Amitabh Bachchan (L) and Adnan Sami's (R) Twitter accounts were hacked recently.



A group that goes by the name "Ayyildiz Tim Turkish Cyber Army" claimed responsibility for hacking both the high-profile accounts.

"Their modus operandi looks like they sending DM (Twitter Direct Message) to the victims Twitter account and if the victim opens the DM (direct message) he/she is directed to a phishing page which looks like a genuine page," Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. told IANS.

"If the user fills the login credentials on this page his login information is gone to the hackers who later use it to login and change the original password and take control of the account," he said, adding that there are even other ways a Twitter account can get compromised.
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Users with large number of followers should switch on the two-factor authentication for their account, Katkar said.

French security researcher who uses the pseudonym Elliot Alderson pointed to a user who goes by the name Kerem Sah Noyan on Twitter and uses the handle @NoyanAyt2002 as the person behind the hack.

"Few hours ago, the account of @SrBachchan with his 37.4M followers has been hacked. There is a high probability that the hacker is @NoyanAyt2002," Alderson tweeted.


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"Guess who is the last person followed by @SrBachchan? Obviously @NoyanAyt2002," he added.

Guess who is the last person followed by @SrBachchan? Obviously @NoyanAyt2002
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"To sum up: The hacker of @SrBachchan's account is @NoyanAyt2002. He is part of team called "Turkish Cyber Army Ayyildiz Tim". He hacked at least 8 "big" Twitter accounts before that including @dalermehndi, @divyadutta25, @ErosNow, @bmwindia, @dalermehndi, @yanisvaroufakis," Alderson added.



Twitter only contacts users in-app or via an email sent from an @twitter.com email address. The platform never ask users to provide their password via email, Direct Message, or reply.

"All the social media services (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook etc,) have the security and privacy feature of two factor authentication. This will make it difficult for hacker to take control of your social media account," Katkar said.

"I will also recommend everyone to go and read/check/understand all the settings under security and privacy of your social media account. It has lot of features to keep your account safe," he added.

Facebook, Twitter Instagram: Tips & Tricks To Keep Social Media Private
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It seems counter intuitive – after all, social media helps you share your opinions and speak to a larger audience. But thanks to rampant identity theft and online stalking, there is a solid argument to be made to target your social posts instead of keeping them public. Karan Bajaj shows you how.

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Facebook has a dedicated section for privacy settings and tools (accessible in the Settings menu). In this section, you can choose who can see your future activity. For privacy, select Friends instead of Public. Also on the same page, you get the option to limit accessibility of your existing posts on the social network to only friends instead of everyone. You can also choose individual settings for items such as friend requests, email addresses access, phone number access and who can see your friends list. To step up your privacy, switch all these settings to ‘Friends Only’. We also recommend switching off access to search engines outside of Facebook.

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By default, all the information in your profile is in the public domain. To change this, click on your profile picture on the top bar to view your profile. On this page, you can view all the information available to anyone who opens your profile page. Click the edit button (the small pencil icon) that appears inside the intro box and you can then customize your info. We recommend switching off all the items you want to keep private from prying eyes.

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Many regular Facebook users tend to upload a lot of photos to share with friends and family. However, you don’t want everyone who visits your profile to have access to all these memories either. One way to hide them is to delete them from Facebook after a few months. The other way is to edit the privacy settings for each photo album. Click on Photos > Albums. For any album that you want to limit access to, click the options button (the three dots on the right corner) on an individual album and choose edit. This will open the privacy settings for the album for which you can select only friends, family or only you.

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Quite like Instagram, Twitter lets you hide your tweets from the world — this means they’ll only be visible to your existing followers and won’t show up in searches. You will also have to individually approve new followers from that point forward. To do this, go to the ‘Settings and Privacy’ section and look for ‘Privacy and Safety’. Here, you can switch-on the feature marked ‘Protect your Tweets’.

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One of the nicest privacy features on Twitter is that it lets you control how people can look you up on Twitter. In Settings, look for a section on Discoverability — here you can choose if other users can find you on Twitter using your email address or phone number. You can also view and manage any contacts you have uploaded to Twitter from your smartphone or choose to remove uploaded data from your account altogether.

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This is the easiest method to prevent access to your Instagram posts and stories. In the Instagram app on your phone, open settings > Privacy and Security. You will see the option for Account Privacy here which gives you the option to switch to a private account. Once enabled, only people that are following you will be able to see your posts. Any new followers will have to be approved by you individually. You should do this if you’re not interested in growing your followers and want to share with a group of people only.

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Chances are that you have linked your Facebook profile to your Instagram account — either by choice or by using a Facebook account to login to Instagram. What happens in this scenario is that when anyone visits your Facebook profile, it shows them that you are also available on Instagram. To avoid this, head to Settings in your Instagram app, tap on Account > Linked Accounts > Facebook and select ‘Unlink Account’.

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Even with your account set to private, a friend can share your story to their timeline and it would then become public through their feed. To stop this from happening, you can control how your Instagram stories can be seen and shared. In Settings, go to Privacy and Security > Story Controls. Here, you can switch off the option that lets people share your story. You can create a blacklist to hide your story from certain people, choose who can reply to your story (everyone, people you follow or no one) and there are also options to prevent saving story posts to the Instagram archive.

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