It took several high profile hacks, but Twitter has finally decided it’s time to roll out two-step authentication to ensure a higher degree of user security.
The social media platform played down account compromises as ‘occasional occurrences’ in its announcement earlier this week, saying that (and trying to downplay the security threats): ‘often account owners actually alert it to email phishing schemes or password breaches taking place elsewhere on the web’.
After the Associated Press saw a false tweet rock the US stock market, not to mention a number of high profile hits on the likes of Burger King and Jeep, Twitter is finally succumbing to the popular pressure it so often exacts on others, and is ready to employ a two-step security process.
Undoubtedly hackers are a threat to every area of online life, from Twitter accounts, right through to the corridors of power and breaches of classified information. But is there a far more destructive element to social media just waiting to pounce?
I would argue that the biggest threat to social media channels and especially Twitter is not so much the faceless hacker sat in a UV lit, windowless basement, but rather the actual person who owns the account.
Let’s take a step back from the world of technology for a moment and look to the world of cricket. There’s nothing finer than a day of cricket on a village green in rural England; it’s a test of skill, patience, application, strategy and will power. It also (and maybe somewhat surprisingly) provides us with a ‘how not to guide’ when it comes to Twitter.
Do you remember the Kevin Pietersen Twitter debacle in 2010 following him being dropped from the England T20 team? And then again in 2012 when he derided Sky Sports commentator Nick Knight leading to an undisclosed fine from the ECB?
Twittergate has struck again this week in the world of cricket, but this time to Australian ‘Baggy Green’ opening batsman David Warner. Warner’s Twitter outburst was directed against journalists, who suggested he was involved in match fixing at the IPL for which he was fined £3,600 by the Australian Cricket board but avoided the selectors axe – unlike KP did back in 2010.
The point I am trying to make is that Twitter can be a dangerous medium – if you put it in the hands of the wrong person it can result in severe damage to the reputations of brands and individuals alike. The biggest treat to Twitter accounts for individuals and brands alike is not the Lulzsecs of this world but rather the authenticated users themselves if not moderated.
The old saying ‘think before you speak’ has never been more relevant, it’s just had a 21st century revamp – now however it’s a case of think before you tweet.