On the July 4th holiday weekend, unknown hackers targeted an official Twitter account of Fox News announcing to the world that US President Barack Obama was assassinated as he was campaigning in Iowa.

What worried many is that the bogus news came from a verified account, adding to an already long list of hacks on Twitter involving high profile websites.

This latest hacking of the popular social micro-blogging site has prompted many experts to say that Twitter has definitely fallen behind in terms providing users the latest tools for securing their respective accounts.

Just last month, British actor Simon Pegg confirmed that hackers have also taken control of his Twitter account. There was a link that was posted urging people to download a screensaver from his latest film, which in fact is a malware virus that steals login credentials.

This is not the first time that Twitter hit the news for the hacking of their accounts but the  tweets about Mr. Obama’s assassination made headlines all over the world. The hacked account was a genuinely verified account with the name Fox News Politics.

Further back a few months ago, Fox was also hacked when their website was attacked by LulzSec, the same group who were supposed to hack their way into the British census database in June.

Fox News is still unsure of how the cyber hackers temporarily took control of the account. They have also complained that Twitter was slow in gaining control of the account back to them. The US Secret Service has already investigated the incident.

Several internet security experts have announced that Twitter lacks in security systems compared to its rivals in the social media arena. It appears Twitter does not have a two-step authentication in place, which experts believe is a huge error for them. The attack might have been prevented had Twitter offered a two-step authentication system in securing user accounts, many experts argue.

The two-step authentication technology enables users to enter a second code on top of the fixed password in accessing their account. This code constantly changes each minute and is also sent to mobile phones as well as other electronic devices. The two-step authentication method is currently used by Facebook and Google in confirming their users’ identity.

Users who are worried about the security of their account can actually do a few things to avoid any breach. Obviously, they should select a strong password that is different from the ones they use with other services and sites.

Additionally, they can also enable additional security with their account. This option is already available but is not switched on by default. Here are the steps:

  • After you have logged in to your personal Twitter home page, click your username that is located in the top-right corner of the page.
  • In the dropdown menu, click Settings.
  • In that page, scroll down to the bottom and find the checkbox labeled as “Always use HTTPS”.
  • The checkbox should be checked.
  • Click the Save button. You will be prompted to reenter your password.

Once completed, your Twitter connection is now encrypted and your information is provided with an additional layer of security between the user and the service itself. Twitter plans to soon make the encrypted connection as the default setting. In the meantime, users may opt to manually turn on this feature.