A while back, my main email account was hacked. After some deliberation, I had given my new email address to a friend whose Internet hygiene is questionable and, sure enough, within 24 hours I was receiving notes from friends that I was spamming them.
My first reaction was panic. What if the hackers locked me out of my own account? What if they stole my credit card numbers? What if they posted my miserable self-recorded guitar playing on the Web?! My next reaction was to act immediately to change my password and read up on security. Then, sheepishly, I began to change my password everywhere I had an account. Why? Because I was using the same password every. place. I. went.
I know. Bad form. But I am more secure today. Thanks in large part to a recent article in Wired magazine, which, while painting a doomsday scenario for the future of online safety, does offer some very helpful security tips.
To wit, few of the author's "Dos":
"Enable two-factor authentication when offered. When
you log in from a strange location, a system like this will send you a
text message with a code to confirm. Yes, that can be cracked, but it’s
better than nothing.
Give bogus answers to security questions. Think of
them as a secondary password. Just keep your answers memorable. My first
car? Why, it was a “Camper Van Beethoven Freaking Rules.”
Scrub your online presence. One of the easiest ways
to hack into an account is through your email and billing address
information. Sites like Spokeo and WhitePages.com offer opt-out
mechanisms to get your information removed from their databases.
Use a unique, secure email address for password recoveries.
If a hacker knows where your password reset goes, that’s a line of
attack. So create a special account you never use for communications.
And make sure to choose a username that isn’t tied to your name—like
firstname.lastname@example.org—so it can’t be easily guessed."
So, do it: read "Kill the Password." It's great.
PS - The last of the "do's" has been the real eye-opener for me. Oh, and it is completely safe to bend an ear to "Devastation" by The Besnard Lakes; now playing on iTunes.
One Hundred Thousand Flashbacks
4 years ago