Twitter is making it a little more difficult for people to hack their way into your account.
The online social network is rolling out two new improvements designed to help protect user accounts. The first is a streamlined password reset experience, while the second is better identification and blocking of suspicious logins.
Knowing how frustrating it can be to lose or forget a password, Twitter has redesigned how you can get a new password to log back in.
"The new process lets you choose the email address or phone number associated with your account where you'd like us to send your reset information," Mollie Vandor, a Twitter product manager, wrote on the company's blog. "That way, whether you've recently changed your phone number, or are traveling with limited access to your devices, or had an old email address connected to your Twitter account, you've got options."
In an effort to further protect users' accounts from being hacked into, Twitter built a system that analyzes login attempts on each account by looking at things like location, device being used and login history to identify suspicious behavior.
"If we identify a login attempt as suspicious, we'll ask you a simple question about your account — something that only you know — to verify that your account is secure before granting access," Vandor wrote. "We'll also send you an email to let you know that we’ve detected unusual activity so you can update your password if need be."
To better protect each account, Twitter is also encouraging users to follow several best practices for password security, including:
- Use a strong password. Your password should be at least 10 characters that include upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, and symbols. You should always use a unique password for each website you use; that way, if one account gets compromised, the rest are safe.
- Watch out for suspicious links, and always make sure you're on Twitter.com before you enter your login information. Be cautious when clicking on links in Direct Messages. Whenever you are prompted to enter your Twitter password, just take a quick look at the URL and make sure you're actually on Twitter.com. Phishing websites will often look just like Twitter’s login page, but will actually be for destinations other than Twitter. If ever in doubt, just go directly to twitter.com in your browser.
- Don't give your username and password out to unknown third parties, especially those promising to get you followers or make you money. When you give your username and password to someone else, they get complete control of your account and can lock you out of your account or take actions that cause your account to be suspended. Be wary of any application that promises to make you money or get you followers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Make sure your computer and operating system are up to date with the most recent patches, upgrades and antivirus software. Keep your browser and operating system updated with the most current versions and patches; patches are often released to address particular security threats.
In addition to its new security measures, Twitter also announced this week that it's rolling out a "mute" feature designed to give users more control over the content they see. In the same way device notifications can be turned on so you never miss a tweet from your favorite users, you now have the option of muting users you want to hear from less.
"Muting a user on Twitter means their tweets and retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user," Twitter product manager Paul Rosania wrote on the company's blog. "The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won't see any of that activity in your timeline."
The new feature doesn't run the risk of offending anyone, since the user will not know if, or when, they've been muted.
To mute a user from a Tweet on an iOS or Android device, or on Twitter for web, tap more and then mute @username. To mute someone from that individual's profile page, tap the gear icon on the page and choose mute @username.
Originally published on Business News Daily