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Anonymous Twitter gets hacked - Tips for protecting yourself

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sometimes, the hackers get hacked. That's what happened to the Anonymous Twitter feed this week as rival hacktivists broke into the feed and started posting their own messages.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The hack was apparently very simple with someone gaining access to what passes for the official feed of the hacktivist group by hacking the account password. The Anonymous Twitter feed has about 160,000 followers.

Anonymous is anonymous by design, so the fact that it has an official Twitter is itself debatable. The hacking collective is not particularly organized, and has no formal leadership. Instead it is comprised of both experts and amateurs who coalesce around particular causes and network to gain access to websites and databases across the internet. The hacks are commonly seen as a form of political expression. 

Despite the irony of the event to the general public, hackers commonly target other hackers both as rivals and for sport. What's surprising in this case is that someone managed to breech the collective's Twitter feed by simply obtaining the password.

While the password may have been directly cracked, it is far more likely it was harvested from elsewhere and the administrator happened to use the same password in more than one place, thus the anti-anon hackers managed to get into the Twitter feed as a byproduct of a successful attack elsewhere.

The password could also have been simply handed off to a rival group as loyalties tend to shift in the hacking community.

Generally speaking, ordinary people do not need to worry about becoming victims of sophisticated, concentrated attacks from groups like Anonymous. Small-time hackers and identity thieves, as well as close relatives including children, jealous partners, and coworkers are more likely to be the ones hacking your personal accounts.

To avoid such embarrassments, it is recommended that you consider the following tips.

-    Employ a random string of numbers and letters in your password.
-    Use both uppercase and lowercase letters in your password.
-    Don't use passwords that include names, address numbers, birthdates, or other information which can be guessed.
-    Change your passwords frequently.
-    Use a different password for each login.
-    Never share your password, not even with your children or spouse. Separate passwords can normally be used.
-    Beware of keystroke loggers which may be hard to detect on your system without scanning software or knowledge of how to find and delete them.
-    Visit only reputable, trusted sites on the internet.
-    Avoid clicking on banners and links. If you are interested in something, go there by searching for it directly instead of using the banner.
-    Avoid loaning your smartphone or tablet for others to use without your supervision. With so much personal data stored on mobile devices, it is easy to gain access to the rest of your identity and credentials within minutes or even seconds.
-    Never install any toolbars, scanning software, or other "helpful" programs on your computer.
-    Ignore and delete any popups that claim your computer has been compromised by law enforcement or hackers. The FBI will not warn you via pop-up in advance of knocking.
-    If you believe your computer has been compromised, nothing fixes it quite like wiping it and reinstalling your OS. All computers have this ability. Contact a professional to help if needed.
-    Report hacking and identity theft to the authorities.
-    In all cases, use common sense.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)