You may be hacked just for fun

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 !


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