How to avoid becoming a Twitter spammer, the easy way

Over the last few weeks I’ve been receiv­ing spam on Twit­ter from trus­ted people I fol­low.

It’s not that they’ve all been over­come by the need to mon­et­ize their Twit­ter accounts (there, I said mon­et­ize in a blog post, I’m doomed), rather, they’ve fallen vic­tim to diabol­ic­ally-craf­ted account phish­ing schemes and their Twit­ter accounts are now com­prom­ised.

There’re two parts to this sub­ject, which logic­ally means that I’ll deal with it in two posts:

Part One — How to avoid becom­ing a Twit­ter spam­mer
To keep from becom­ing an unwit­ting vic­tim of Twit­ter scam­mers hijack­ing your Twit­ter account for their own nefar­i­ous pur­poses, there’s really only a few simple things to remem­ber:

Trust
Only give your Twit­ter pass­word and account name to people or ser­vices you trust — treat it like your email or bank account.

And Veri­fy
Veri­fy that the Twit­ter login page is actu­ally asso­ci­ated with the Twit­ter domain, and not a numbered IP address or some oth­er domain name. It should always be http://twitter.com or https://twitter.com. As long as the domain name is OK, you should be fine.

A high-tech solu­tion
Don’t use your Twit­ter name or Pass­word to sign up for ‘free offers’ or per­son­al­ity tests. Instead, open a new tab on your browser, log in to Twit­ter the nor­mal way — this sets up a secure ses­sion. Now that you’ve estab­lished a ses­sion with Twit­ter, go back to the pre­vi­ous tab with the twit­ter ser­vice show­ing you the pass­word requester. Refresh that page, and you will likely see a OAu­th login, like this one.

OAu­th is a more secure way to give a third-party access to your Twit­ter account, without reveal­ing your pass­word.

But don’t rely on tech­no­logy alone, no pro­cess if fool proof — even OAu­th.

Con­sider the first two points and always weigh the risk. Ask your­self the ques­tion, “is it really import­ant for me to give them my Twit­ter login, take that per­son­al­ity test, and poten­tially spam my friends and fol­low­ers — put­ting my repu­ta­tion at risk?”

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