It was definitely an experience I will never forget. With over 60,000 followers at the time, I had no control over what my followers would see when they clicked on my links. Links that were supposed to lead to my blog posts led to a porn site. Those two days were very rough. I wrote a blog post about how you could avoid getting hacked before getting hacked in the first place, but I decided to learn how to avoid getting hacked after my account got hacked (bad move on my part). The entire experience did allow me to learn several lessons:
- The internet is dangerous and unsecure which makes your reputation fragile. If universities decided to review my Twitter account on the day the hackings took place, I would have been rejected by many if not all of them. Two days of activity that were not my fault would have ruined my reputation. I am sure some people unfollowed me when they saw the spam. It was not my intention to spam people, but in the end, a hacker was able to damage my reputation in the eyes of some people. That is a harsh way to look at it, but it’s hard to see why that would not be true.
- We need to speak up about our problems. With no solution in sight, I was scared to tell everyone that my account had been hacked. As far as I knew, it could have taken several weeks or even months for my account to get back to normal. I tried contacting Twitter, but with this particular issue, contacting them is almost as challenging as using a Google tool that got updated a few days ago. I decided that the only solution would be for me to ask my followers and notify them about the issue. With fear and bravery intertwined into one, I sent out a series of tweets telling over 60,000 people that my account had been hacked. In the end, all of the people who contacted me were optimistic and very helpful. These people helped me reach a solution and told me whether they were redirected to my blog or not. I got to make some new friends, and when my Twitter account got unhacked, more people visited my blog. It was amazing, and it only happened because I spoke up.
- Be prepared for the storm before it hits. The hack hit like a storm, and I was unprepared. What could have taken a few minutes took me two days. Although you should not spend too much time preparing for the storm, you should know what to do when the storm comes and how to stop it before it inflicts a lot of damage.
- People support each other when both are against a common enemy. I highly doubt there is a single person who really wants his/her Twitter account to get hacked. When my Twitter account got hacked, some of the people supported me because they would not like it if their account got hacked. By identifying a common enemy, you will be able to create a team that supports each other with a common goal: taking down the enemy. Applying this to more than a hacked Twitter accounts, common enemies can include but are not limited to debt, procrastination, and stress.
I wanted to be sure that something came out of the two day experience of my hacked Twitter account. I was able to come up with 4 lessons. Although I am sure I could have come up with more lessons, these are the main lessons that you need to take away from my experience.