You have probably seen in the news the rise of Twitter accounts being taken over by various hackers. Some of these hackers have political or religious aims, while other just want to create havoc. Regardless of their reason, cleaning up after someone has hacked your Twitter account is not a lot fun, but needs to be dealt with swiftly before things get out of hand. So how does your church contain this social media nightmare? Well, here is a quick list of actions steps to get you going down the right path:
If the Hacker Did Not Change Your Twitter Password
Step 1. Immediately log into your Twitter account and change your password. You can change your password by going to the settings section of your account.
Step 2. Remove any of the offending posts from the hacker on your account.
Step 3. Send out a statement apologizing for the incident and letting your followers know you were hacked and the church is taking precautions against future incidents like this.
Step 4. Go to the settings page on your Twitter account and click on the link entitled “Apps” on the left hand menu. This is where you will see a list of applications (mobile or desktop) that you have authorized to use your Twitter account.
Run through that list and see if there are any suspicious applications that you did not authorize. If you are still worried, go ahead revoke access to all your applications and then begin reauthorizing them one by one.
Step 5. Begin tracing to your steps to determine where the hacker obtained access to your account. Did you or someone on your church staff click on a malicious link? Begin reviewing how the incident occurred, and then assess what steps your church needs to put in place to prevent this from happening again.
If the Hacker Changed Your Password
Step 1. Immediately go to this page and fill out your account information. Twitter will then email you a link to create a new password.
Step 2. Follow steps 2 through 5 listed above.
If the Hacker Changed Your Email Address
Step 1. Immediately head over to the Twitter Help Center and begin filling out a form to let them know you were hacked and your email was changed.
Step 2. You might need to provide Twitter with some sort of verification that you are the original account holder. Work with your IT staff to provide IP addresses to show you were the one who originally accessed the account. (If you don’t understand this step, that’s fine your IT staff will.)
Step 3. Understand that you might have to wait a while for Twitter’s response. At this point, begin to communicate through your other social media channels (Facebook, website, etc…) and your staff member’s Twitter accounts that you’re trying to resolve the situation.
Step 4. If you still do not receive a response from Twitter within a week of your help center submission, begin the conversation with your staff about possibly setting up a new Twitter account and begin researching available usernames.
Step 5. Follow step 5 listed above.
Has your church Twitter account been hacked before? How did it happen? What procedures did you put in place to prevent it from happening again? Contact me on Twitter at @dgirardier, and let’s continue the conversation.