Twitter has rolled out more advanced login security features designed to thwart hackers. The hard-to-crack “2 factor authorization” will add a new level of protection after some critics claimed that Twitter’s login security was too weak.
High Profile Hackings
Twitter vowed to upgrade its security features after a number of big name organizations had their Twitter accounts compromised. For about an hour, the Burger King account was hacked and promoted McDonald’s. The account for Jeep got a similar treatment, promoting Chrysler during the brief security breach. More seriously, the account for the Associated Press was hacked and falsely reported that a bomb had gone off at The White House. Investors who mistakenly thought that the story was real caused the stock market to temporarily drop.
Unfortunately, the hacking threat that hurt large companies also looms over regular users. It’s recommended that Tweeters perform a criminal background check on their followers to ensure that they aren’t sending daily tweets to known criminals.
How It Works
Tweeters must first activate the feature using their Android or iOS smartphone. Every time they log into their Twitter account, they will receive a notification on their phone asking them to approve the login. They will only be able to start Tweeting after a code that is stored on the phone is sent back to Twitter’s servers. If someone receives a notification without attempting to sign in, they will know that their password has been compromised. This system replaces the old 2 factor authorization system which sent users a text message.
In a blog post, Twitter said “Simply tap a button on your phone, and you’re good to go. This means you don’t have to wait for a text message and then type in the code each time you sign in on twitter.com.”
But what happens if you lose your phone or simply don’t have it on you? When users sign up for the feature, they will also be given a back up code that will be stored on Twitter’s servers. They can enter this code into the Twitter login instead of verifying it on their phone.
For additional security, Twitter highly recommends that users safely secure their backup code and backup their phone data.
While this is the most advanced login Twitter has ever used, the company says that they aren’t done yet. Twitter security engineer Alex Smolen said that, “we’re working on building login verification into our clients and exposing a login verification API for other XAuth clients so people who don’t have access to the web also have a seamless login experience.”
High Quality Passwords Are Still Essential
These new features are bound to protect against hackers, but people who use social media shouldn’t neglect the importance of a strong password. A secure password is at least eight characters long, contains a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and characters, and is easily memorable. Passwords that are difficult to crack strengthen any other security login features.
Jay Cross is a writer from Reno, Nevada. He writes about internet security, crime, and social media.