That whole brouhaha with Mat Honan's Apple/Amazon/Twitter hacking that created tsunami-sized waves in the web world the last couple of weeks had me getting a little concerned about my own cyber security.
It sucks what happened to Mat but there are things he could have and, as even he admits, should have done to protect himself and his data. The primary thing being not to use the same user ID and password everywhere. That practice led to the hacking of both my Hotmail and Gmail accounts nearly two years ago. That was the start of my move toward greater security, but I'm in the process of doing even more.
I'm killing online accounts that I don't actively use including social media.
I removed my credit cards from my Amazon account so they cannot be used against me like they were with Mat.
I've swapped out passwords on various accounts so they're not the same.
I'm using secure services to protect my passwords.
And I set up what's known as "2-step verification" to protect my Google account. Since Google is basically the lifeblood of my online existence (Gmail, YouTube, Google+, etc.), the safer I am, the better. The good thing is, I don't have any credit cards tied to Google.
Setting it up was easy... I change a couple settings in my account and then verify the change using two web accessible devices (my wife's MacBook and my iPhone, for example) to guarantee that I am the actual account holder.
The scary thing was being shown how many online services and apps to which I had granted access to my Google account for, say, logging-in purposes. I started rescinding approvals on those and then had to verify the "trusted devices" that could access the account using 16-character passwords randomly generated for me by Google. Then I had to do the same for all the apps I use like YouTube, Google+, Google Drive, etc., using six-digit passcodes sent via SMS that needed to be entered in the apps.
It's crazy. I've received more SMS messages from Google in the last few days than I've received from all other senders combined over the course of the last month.
It blows your mind when you realize how many devices you use to access your account and all the apps that are tied to it.
It's no wonder hackers can do stuff like this so easily. We MAKE it easy for them.
If you haven't done so, please consider rechecking and revising your own online security. We are living in a virtual world, and I am a virtual gir... wait, no. Boy.
If any of you took offense at my Twitter feed earlier today when @martymankins, @avitable, @DownWithPants, and I went to town coming up with the dirtiest possible news headlines to describe the conviction of three members (heh heh) of Russian punk band Pussy Riot for hooliganism by a Moscow court, well, I don't apologize for it. Not at all.
It was raunchy. It was offensive. It was completely uncalled for.
And the laughs I received from taking part in it were sooo needed.
Big thanks to Marty, Adam, and Brandon for brightening up my day if for only a few minutes.