Hacking has been at its all-time high within the last week or so. Twitter seems to be one of the major targets for the hackers, attacking higher profile users of the popular social networking site.  I personally work with several high profile clients like Shane Sparks (@sparks5678), Tammy Torres (@tammytorres), Gerald Albright (@gaalbright), Adrian Ross (@maddbacker), VMayz (@VMAYZ), Brittany Dailey (@brittanydailey)  that have had their accounts hacked, or hackers have attempted to hack their accounts. I work closely with celebrities, athletes, models and other higher profile clients assisting them with social media management, marketing strategies, and reputation management and have seen first hand the impact the hacking has had on them.

With the events over the last 2 weeks, I have decided to shed more light on the problem of hackers on social networking sites, such as Twitter. Although hacking has been an ongoing problem for several years now, the problem has been continuously growing and is potentially putting everyone privacy at risk. Everyone (not just celebrities) needs to be cautious and aware of the potential problem, taking the proper steps to avoid an incident.

These hackers are getting more and more creative in their attempts to get information from users on Twitter. For example; some were sending personal messages to models about potential photo shoot opportunities from friends of theirs who’s accounts had already been hacked. This was an attempt to obtain photographs of the individuals to be used in a manner that was not authorized by the “high profile” senders.

Another popular tactic for the hackers is to send a message “updating” them with their new cell phone number and asking them to text them. Usually, the hacker has a similar name and so forth of a friend on the account, or is sending this message from an account that has already been hacked. The victims would then send their contact information to a complete stranger through text message, thinking this was someone they knew very well. An experienced hacker can use the little bit of information they find out about you to get all of your personal information.

Phishing sites have been one of the favored methods for obtaining your account logins and passwords for several years now. However, many of these hackers are posing as people you know, and are sending links to these phishing sites as a personal message from a friend. The links and site appear to be a legitimate site, like Twitter, asking you to login to see the message from your friend, however, the sites are fakes, and steal your login information and passwords so they can use it.

Some of these phishing sites will try to get you to download or install a program, commonly referred to as a virus, or a trojan. Some of these programs will log every keystroke you make on your computer, giving them all the information they need to have full access to all your online accounts. Now the hacker can obtain access to just about anything, bank accounts, medical records, retirement funds, etc. Pretty scary, huh?

Companies like Twitter are doing their best to combat these issues, but with the limited personnel at most social networking companies, it is important that you do anything you can to not fall for the trap in the first place. Everyone has the potential to be hacked, however, it seems as though the hackers were targeting high profile users this time. Every social networking user should protect themselves by using common sense, and not opening emails or private messages from people they don’t know.  Always type in the web address of the site you are trying to login to. Never login to a site by clicking on links you received in a message or email, even if the link is from someone you know. Change your passwords frequently, using passwords with capital and lowercase letters, and numbers. It’s important that all of us take a proactive approach to protecting our online accounts and profiles.

Over the last few years I have developed a great rapport with Twitter and other social networks, so if you have been hacked or ever need help protecting your online identity you can contact me directly.  I also help to get celebrities, athletes, models, etc. verified on Twitter.

Listen to the Radio Interview here —> Shane Barker Interview on LockDown Radio Show