If you weren’t following the horror story of Wired journalist Mat Honan’s personal hacking over the weekend, then do yourself a favour and read his article or watch his interview on This Week in Tech below.
It’s clear that Apple and Amazon’s security procedures were less than impressive. They have already been changed as a result of this incident, however this will be of little comfort to Mat, or you if something similar finds you in the future. Cloud services are becoming increasingly important in our digital lifestyle and we really should be paying more attention to their security. Here are some tips on safeguarding your own accounts.
So even if someone has access to your email address and password they can’t access your account. You’ll need to sign in like this every 30 days and everything that uses your google account (for example that RSS reader on your smartphone) will need a new single use Application-specific password. Check out the video below.
Review Your Password Procedures – By now we all know the rules about using strong passwords, the longer the better and we should be using a mixture of upper and lower case letters plus numbers and symbols. Read this interesting article to understand how this password – [PrXyc.N(n4k77#L!eVdAfp9] may actually be weaker than this much easier to rememeber one – [D0g…………………]
We also know we should have a different password for every site we use, you don’t want your password to be obtained from one inherently less secure site (for example the comments system of your favourite blog) and then be used to access say your online banking. But with so many logins to remember these days it seems impossible to stick to these rules. Thankfully there is an answer and utilities like 1Password and LastPass will create secure individual passwords for each site and allow you to retrieve them using one super-strong master password. They work across multiple OS’s and even on your mobile devices too.
Backup! – If you’ve got this far give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve made some important changes.
Now it’s time to back up your entire Gmail account. You probably have years of email in there and we use a great little open source utility to create a local backup incase the unthinkable does happen.
Gmvault works with Windows, OS X and Linux and will backup your messages and attachments which can then be viewed locally in your favourite email client or be restoring back up to your Gmail account in the cloud.
The Future – Ultimately there’s always going to be a compromise between security and convenience, but as Mat concludes in his article, this whole password thing seems to be pretty broken at this point. Until someone solves the issue of proving our identity we hope you’ll find these tips useful. We’re no security experts but you’ll certainly be more prepared than most even if you only use one or two of them. Give us your top security tips in the comments below.