FOND DU LAC - The Fond du Lac Police Department is used to fighting threats on the street, but now it's battling a cyber threat. The department's Twitter account was hacked.
This is a reminder it can happen to anyone. So what can you do to keep your own accounts safe?
"It's malicious. It defeats the entire purpose and that's safety," said Fond du Lac Assistant Police Chief Steve Thiry.
He was describing the fact that someone else has been sending messages from the department's Twitter account. Some contain swear words, some make no sense. But none of them came from the department.
"And so we realized somebody had hacked into our account," said Thiry.
It's been going on for a few days. Officers told FOX 11 they have no idea where the tweets are coming from.
"We have critical information we need to get out as far as safety concerns for the city and our citizens that's what we'd use it for," explained Thiry.
And the police department isn't alone.
"Basically, any service or website can be hacked," said Brandon Wentland, the president of Optimal Web Consultants Inc. in Appleton.
Wentland told FOX 11 too many people have very simple passwords, or the same password for many accounts.
He recommends using an online password manager like LastPass, which is free. (link to web tutorial).
"Remembers your passwords for you and so you have a unique one for every account that way you don't have to worry about remembering the password for every account. It does the heavy lifting for you," Wentland explained.
LastPass will create complicated passwords for each of your accounts. You then use one master code for the program itself.
Wentland's second piece of advice is to take advantage of two-step authentication.
"Have to authenticate, obviously, with your password, then you have to have a code that Twitter will text message to you," Wentland explained.
Thiry told us once the police department's Twitter is fixed, enhanced security will be a top priority.
"When you have people that undermine that they undermine the safety of our community and we don't take that lightly," said Thiry.
The police department is working with the city's IT experts and Twitter to regain control of the account. Thiry said the department will put out a public alert once it's fixed.
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