If it can happen to CNN’s Rick Sanchez, it can probably happen to you. Twitter hijacking has been in the news of late with security breaches dinging celebrities, products and even newspaper sites. While Twitter has been quick to respond, it raises other issues about putting your company at risk.

The Deseret News was hijacked and an intruder began posting anti-Mormon messages disguised as church news, apparently cracking a password to get into the account. The newspaper apparently could not stop the outgoing messages and could not reach Twitter for three days, according to a report by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. Once the lawyers got involved, the site was taken down.

When celebs like Britney Spears got hit, Twitter responded much more quickly. They disclosed that 33 accounts of big-name users were compromised.

Twitter Exec Biz Stone wrote in his blog: “ … we discovered 33 Twitter accounts had been “hacked” including prominent Twitter-ers like Rick Sanchez and Barack Obama (who has not been Twittering since becoming the president elect due to transition issues). We immediately locked down the accounts and investigated the issue. Rick, Barack, and others are now back in control of their accounts.”

(Interesting familiarity with first names on a side note about a Twitter’s crisis communications.)

On crisis communications, the company did do better with the celebs. But high-profile execs weren’t the only ones hit. Other users started popping up noting that their accounts had been compromised a well.

Computerworld reported that Twitter accounts were hijacked using internal support tools, including access to emails and passwords. Most smart people changed their passwords when they heard about it regardless of company protocols.

A phishing attack also scammed folks with offers of free wireless devices – also using emails.

And then was the Twitter “robbery” story. Seems a fellow who tweeted about visiting relatives in Kansas City had his home broken into while he was away. In the SM-sphere, he made himself an easy target. By tweeting an update, he got nailed.

So like everything else, don’t be a Twit victim.

  • Change your passwords frequently
  • Make your domains private
  • Stop posting so much personal stuff (including address, date of birth, and when you’re out of town—especially if you have any physical addresses linked between work and home)
  • Get over yourself that every little thing you do in a day is a must tweet

Tweeting can be informative, entertaining, lead generating and brand building.

For the 37 percent of people who actually use social media (responding to IIB’s recent poll), the best advice is always the simplest advice.

As the Professional Travel Guide blog put it when analyzing the recent robbery: The lesson is that you have to be careful when you broadcast something on the interwebz. Yes, it’s that simple: just think before you tweet, folks.

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