First Direct recently became one of the more high profile Twitter users to have their accounts hacked, thanks to a phishing scam that was spreading by Direct Message (DM) last week.
It’s an interesting study in reputation management to see how First Direct dealt with the affair, and whilst they’dÂ freely admit that they made some mistakes along the way, such as poorly wording follow-up Tweets suggesting their systems had been hacked (rather than just their Twitter account), overall I think they dealt with it well, and they should come out of it with no harm done to their reputation.
It is just this sort of handling of problems which gives First Direct such a good reputation in banking, at least in my own experience. And in typical First Direct fashion, they’re keen to stress the human element in all this, something that other banks could learn from:
This is new to us and to the financial services sector as a whole. We made a mistake, fixed it as soon as possible and we’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We’re very sorry, but we are only human afterall.
Indeed, First Direct is currently the only major UK bank with a “proper” Twitter account – when I say proper, I mean that it is manned by real people who will respond to your Tweets, not just a one-way feed of latest news. (If anyone knows of other similar accounts for UK banks, please let us know in the comments below).
Protect Your Twitter Account
So how can you protect your own Twitter account from being hacked?
- When spammy tweets and unusual direct messages start flying around Twitter, itâ€™s a cue to change your password. You may have unknowingly given hackers your login information days or weeks ago. Better safe than sorry.
- Always look at the URL before you enter you name/password at any site. Make sure you know what the authentic login URL looks like.
- Suspect every message you receive from people you donâ€™t know personally. If anyone sends you a link that directs you to a login page â€” especially someone you donâ€™t recognize â€” you should assume youâ€™re probably dealing with a hacker.
- Go toÂ http://twitter.com/settings/connections and â€œrevoke accessâ€ for anything you donâ€™t recognize.
- And, of course, change your password on a regular basis (and remember to use random, mixed-case LeTT3rs and nUmb3rs).
BONUS TIP: Use a tool such as this password generator to come up with new, strong passwords, not just the name of your cat or your favourite football team (and certainly not one of these terrible passwords).