Recently someone hacked into the Twitter account of Bob Buckhorn, the mayor of Tampa, Florida and used his account to send out a series of offensive, racist, sexist and pornographic tweets that appeared to come from the mayor.  The tweets went on for more than five hours before they were deleted.  Although the matter is still under investigation by the Tampa Police Department, generally when these type of Twitter account takeovers occur it because the person whose account was hacked had his or her password fall into the wrong hands.  It is often easy for a determined hacker to use software or multiple attempts to determine a person’s password and in these days of constant data breaches, many people get into trouble because they use the same password for all of their online accounts which leaves them in jeopardy if their password is compromised in a data breach.  It is important to have unique passwords for each of your accounts.  It also is important to use dual factor authentication whenever possible. With dual factor authentication even someone with your username and password would be unable to access your account without a special code that is sent by a text message to your cell phone which must be used to access the account.  Having strong, unique passwords and dual factor authentication will help protect the security of your online accounts.

The primary lesson to be learned from this hacking is the importance of using dual factor authentication whenever possible.  The dual factor authentication protocols used by many companies often permit you to avoid the use of the code if you are accessing your account from your usual device, but require the code if access to the account is being attempted from another device.  Here is a link to instructions for using dual factor authentication with Twitter accounts.

Creating and remembering strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts is not as difficult as it may appear.  You can start with a strong base password constructed from a phrase, such as IDon’tLikePasswords. Add a few symbols like !!! and then adapt it for each account you have so that you will have a secure and easy to remember password for each of your online accounts.   Thus, your Amazon password could be IDon’tLikePasswords!!!AMA.

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