One of the best aspects of the Twitter toolset is the fact the team allowed external programmers access to the service so that 3rd party applications and tools could be created. The downside of course is that not everyone has end users best interests at heart, and therefore there are trojan tools out there aiming just to grab your user account details for their own nasty ends …
What can you do to prevent your account getting snatched?
First do not use a tool suggested by a stranger. Why should you trust a recommendation from a person who you don’t know and who has not proven their trustworthiness? Unfortunately so many people have been taken in this way. Just because they are tweeting to the same trending topic as you are following does not make them your friend.
Second, ask yourself WHY they need your login, even if you have been tipped off about a tool by a friend. This friend could have been taken in, or it might be autogenerated spam created by the tool that fooled them! In most cases tools do NOT need your login details. Unless we are talking about a fully fledged Twitter application like TweetDeck and such, there are only a few features that would require a login. Sending a Tweet or looking at your followers are not included in those.
Third, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Greed is the main reason people get trapped by fake tools, with the promise of thousands of followers just by hitting a button. Do not be surprised if your account gets hijacked if you hand over control of who you follow and how to someone you do not know.
Last I should also mention the recent rash of “scripting attacks”. These are links that if clicked will do bad things, from sending fake tweets to taking over your Twitter account via the Twitter.com site. If you are using a desktop application and therefore not using the Twitter.com site to Tweet then log out. This will prevent the majority of the malicious “bad links” from doing their nasty deeds.
Any more Twitter safety tips to share? Please add yours to the comments …