It seems we’ve entered a new stage in America. As Christians, we didn’t ask for it, certainly don’t want it, but it is here all the same and thrust upon us.
Late in the afternoon the day before Thanksgiving, my Twitter account was hacked and stolen. That might sound like a trivial thing, but I’ve had that account since 2008 and had accumulated nearly 40,000 tweets. These messages were about my books, but also inspiring and, I hope, uplifting messages to the 10.5 thousand people who followed my account and to those who happened to see the messages when they passed through. I also did short “Good morning! My wish for you today is…” followed by a spiritual principle to focus on that day. For example, that people be gifted with discernment, to know the truth when they see or hear it. To do a kindness for a stranger. To do one thing to make someone else’s life a little better that day.
Nothing much different than I’ve done on that account for the past 14 years. Yet, for the innocuous work on that account, it, or I, was targeted.
I’ve worked with, I thought, Twitter ever since—today is day six—to no avail. Reports have been circular—report the problem, they need more info, provide it, problem resolved only it isn’t, report… and back through the process. Someone far more computer savvy tells me, I’ve been corresponding with a bot. I can’t say either way. I can say others who have typed in my name get taken to a strange locked page that isn’t me.
Then a similar attempt was made on another social media account and on a phone and in other places. Clearly, it’s an identity theft attempt. I have special coverage for that, and it’ll get sorted out by professionals.
My point is I had no idea why I was targeted—and then I heard from a pastor who had experienced the same thing on the same day. And then two other Christian friends. And then I saw more. And still more.
I’m sharing so that you are not caught unaware.
This has come at a problematic time for me, which I suspect could be intentional. On December 6th, I have a new book coming out, BLOOD STRANGERS, which is the second book in this year’s general audience group series: Behind Closed Doors: Family Secrets.
Each year, I do a related novel with the same group of authors. That book is this year’s book and project. Getting word out about it is my issue. I’m working on that and have no doubt, God will guide my steps.
The important thing is for you to be aware that this is occurring. It isn’t that all the people impacted have large accounts—one has 80 followers. So no one is immune.
What You Can Do
I’ve no idea if this will prevent, but it could help.
- Use a unique, complex password.Something you do not use elsewhere.
- Use a two-factor authentication on your account.So if someone strange tries to log into your account from somewhere other than where you typically do, you’re notified.
- Keep your device and your software updated and protected.
Be advised that I was sent a notification about the stranger attempt to log into my account—the day after they did it. Not exactly in time to do any good.
So, these suggestions are by no means fail-safe or complete. For that reason, check with your own computer guru and with the social media platform’s privacy and security recommendations in their Help section.
I do hope this has been at least a little helpful.