Every now and then , we come across news about big software systems getting hacked – be it the Sony PlayStation or LinkedIn or other popular consumer focussed services . As a commoner , our reaction could be : Well ,I am not that important or worthy enough to be hacked for , I do not have any critical information on my email or any other online systems.
That’s a fair assumption to make . Who would try to hack a commoner like us .
You may not believe the effort spent by a hacker just to get into a twitter account because it was an attractive three letter twitter handle. This hack has spent chilling waves across the entire tech industry since major stalwarts like Amazon and Apple were exposed by this hack of potential security shortcomings .
The point is , your account can be hacked just for fun and the reason can be really lame, but your whole online digital content available in iTunes/Amazon ,iCloud could be wiped out and brought to a fresh,clean state in no time .
Why to secure online account ?
Think for a moment about the important information you may have on your email or online file storage systems like Google Drive or Drop Box or info on any other cloud systems. We generally assume that our content may not be that critical at first thought , but in reality there a are lot of useful information in our mailbox that we access from time to time.
Some information that one normally store in mails are
-Subscription to monthly bills or payment reminders
-Password Reset recovery for iTunes/Amazon etc.
-Documents/Photos/Credit Card information/Passwords to other online system
-Professional and Social contacts
So this is quite a lot of content. more importantly , critical and sensitive information.
So the most obvious thing to do is to make sure you enable the maximum security that is available for these content ,understand the various security options available and use them to make sure your critical information are safe.
Google Two Step Verification
For people who use Google services like Gmail/YouTube etc and want to secure it effectively can go for Google ‘Two Step Verification‘ .
There are two types of security that you can enable :
1.Configure Gmail to your phone that can send One Time Password to the phone for gmail login.
2.Configure Gmail to Gmail Authenticator mobile app . This app is available for all major OS and for this app to work , you do not require data or network coverage.
There are both advantages and pitfalls in using this security mechanism.
First the tricky part : when your gmail is configured to use two step authentication , your mobile phone ,mobile apps that uses google account and other default email accounts in mobile devices that is configured for gmail , need to be setup with this Two Step Verification . This is a cumbersome process but it is enough to be done one time alone .
But the advantage is that it secures your content . In case if your mobile or tablet is lost , you can revoke authentication to that application from web so that your content is not accessible to any one.
A simple , step by step instruction with screenshot is provided here to set up this two step verification for google accounts.
Do not expose payment email account in public domain
Another aspect of securing content to make sure your credit card/payment system safe, is to use a different email account for all your iTunes/Amazon/Android Play Store and other account where in payment is linked with credit/debit card. Do not use the normal email account that is available out in the open in online world for every one to take notice of.
For instance : If i want to hack to your account , i can get your primary email id, date of birth etc from your facebook or any other social networking profile and if i know your address , then I can frivolously use this info and do harm to your content.
Our content is getting stored a lot in web and cloud managed data system these days and we are not entirely in control of who can access them . This makes it all the more important for us to make sure that our email id and other accounts are well protected.
Be aware of Net Banking OTP
So next time you get annoyed when internet banking asks you to enter one time password(OTP) that is sent to your mobile to continue with login ,please be happy that the security mechanism is working . Understand the scenarios under which OTP will be requested :
1. You are accessing net banking from a different system or IP or country which differs from your usual login which is from own latop/desktop at home/office
2.Some body else tried to login to your account from a different IP / country to hack your bank account .
So please make sure you are aware about this and contact the customer support if you suspect of some hack in your account.
In God We trust , all other content need to be well protected !