Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be First to Know When Your Twitter Account Gets Hacked

When we heard about recent high profile hacks of the Burger King and Jeep twitter accounts, our heads filled with terrifying what if's:

"What if a jilted ex-lover took over our account (because they know we use THE. SAME. PASSWORD. FOR EVERYTHING) and posted pictures of us in a retainer and whitey tighties?"

"What if hackers replaced our beautiful default background and witty profile description with a rainbow background and Justin Beiber shout out?"

"What if we weren't tweeting regularly when this happened? How would we ever find out?"

That's when a hypothesis hit: our Montastic free website monitoring service could help. It might not prevent the hack, but it might be able to send us an alert email shortly after the hacker strikes. To confirm our hypothesis, we started an experiment with the Twitter account of an employee. That employee was me.

I was elected to figure out how to use Montastic as a sort of booby trap for my Twitter account (Spoiler: it worked). Read below to see how I did it.

3 Steps to Get Alerted When Your Twitter Account Gets Hacked

Step 1: Set up a Montastic checkpoint for my Twitter home page URL:

Step 2: Pasted in exact text from my profile description, telling Montastic to alert me if this text is not present: "2013 Goals: Dunk a basketball, learn guitar, code a website."

Step 3: Hacked my own Twitter profile, changing the background and profile description (see photo above).

Alert Email Example

Success. Seconds after I hacked my own profile, I received this Gmail alert.

The 'Status code: 150 - text verification failure' indicates a change to my profile description. From there I could report the hack to Twitter and regain control of my compromised account.

Damage controlled. Crisis averted.

Want try the experiment for yourself? Sign up at You can monitor your Twitter account and 2 other checkpoints totally free.


{Note from the author: As of writing this, I still haven't changed my Twitter profile as I kind of like the new look and I heard Burger King got 30,000 new followers post-hack so maybe I'll get a few thousand new followers after hacking my own account. ;)}

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