I've only had one account ever get "hijacked" or "hacked" and thankfully it was caught instantly and was able to be handled without my entire life being thrown into upheaval.
But with the constant digital attacks on people and companies taking place now, what protects you from your digital life from being stolen? For all intents and purposes, your identity is being stolen, and in most cases, it is as detrimental to you as your wallet or purse having been stolen with everything of any personal value inside of it. The issue is that now these people, these life thieves, have access to much more than your actual credit card, checkbook, cash, and whatever else you physically carried. They have the digital keys to your castle and they can destroy you and your life in a click.
Two relatively recent accounts of absolutely devastating hack-jobs, one from Mat Honan and the other from Naoki Hiroshima, that I have saved in Evernote I guess to give myself nightmares or something, are excellent reminders of how not-safe the web really is. And these two gentlemen are both major players in the tech world. So imagine what the average Joe would have to go through?
Target's been hacked recently, Schnucks as well (locals will be more aware of that one), and now just recently, Yahoo! was, too. To top it off, just this past weekend, so was Kickstarter. Every single day companies are under attack, their security being tested. They have now started to hire hackers to help them become more secure, and try to outwit these nefarious forces out to destroy them. Some of these outsiders are doing so to get rich or to get hired on by these companies they hack. Some for political messages. Some out of sheer boredom. Some just to say they did it. But the difference between these attacks and one against you? These companies have the money and the time and the staff to fix the problems and fix the relationships that are damaged. You probably don't.
I am thankful that Discover opted to send out new cards to, it seems, just about everyone that used their Discover at Target during that time, whether you were affected or not, and that Target is offering free Credit Monitoring. We got a message the other day through our account online stating that they were sending us new cards, but that we were not affected. Similar to the Schnucks event, even though we hadn't shopped there or been affected, they sent out new cards to everyone (we actually got three new cards in that time...) just because so many were affected and it was safer, and I guess cheaper on the whole, to just reissue cards.
There are ways to help prevent some of the stress that comes with that. While not everything can be prevented, a lot of the digital attacks many of us face with account hijack can be prevented by using something as simple as Two-Step Authorization.
I know that just the sound of that makes you groan, it made me groan, too. But I also immediately set it up. Facebook uses it, Twitter too. Google. AppleID. Paypal. Dropbox. GoDaddy. And so on. So many companies and providers. Yet so few of their subscribed users actually do use them. Just like so few use a passcode on their phones! (WHY THE HELL NOT?!)
For all of my accounts where it's offered, I use it, and if I can set a pin in addition, I do that, too. Sure, sometimes it's a royal pain in the ass. It is an added step that is surely an inconvenience. But to keep someone out of my account, or at least slow their roll, boy is it helpful. I turned it off to take the screenshot below on Dropbox to show you where and how to enable it. It's incredibly easy.
When and if I get a rogue text with a six-digit code (not the one I am expecting to log in with), I know someone's trying to get in to one of my accounts. I also then know to drop everything and log in, and either change my password credentials, or change some facet of my login, and that immediately foils the attack. But that person (or robot...) won't get in without this code. And now if I've changed my login, too? Bonus.
I have harped on the incredible 1Password app in the past, (here, here, here, here and on Facebook, too) and this is where it's a benefit, as well, because I just log in to the 1Password app and update my newly changed info, and then next week when I cannot remember that I changed it, I can check before I lock myself out. Or, if, when I was changing the data the week prior, I wanted to generate a painful and damn near uncrackable password, which I then need to save in the 1Password app, it'll do that as well.
Take the time to turn on Two-Step Authorization, any pin-code options you can, and make solid passwords--different for each account! It might be a royal pain now, but when you become a victim--it's not longer a matter of if, but when--it will hopefully save an enormous amount of legwork later.
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