Cyber Sex and the City
Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, has had some of her new book leaked online after her Google account was compromised by a hacker known as Guccifer. Guccifer has claimed to be behind the hacking of email accounts belonging to other high profile individuals, including George W Bush.
This serves a salutary warning: firstly anyone can be a target of hacking, and for surprising purposes. Bushnell herself expressed surprise, thinking she wouldn’t be interesting enough to be worth hacking. Even though leaking the manuscript has not likely resulted in any financial loss for Bushnell or her publisher it is embarrassing.
Secondly, how much information do you store behind one password? Compromising Bushnells Google account gave access not just to her email, but to her Google Drive and the draft manuscript. Strong passwords are a must for any online service, and when it’s available two factor authentication should be used. Google supports this; if you want to access your Google account from a new computer it will text a code to your phone, preventing anyone who doesn’t also have your phone from getting access to your account. Google, and others, provide many services behind one portal. Someone compromising your Apple account can make purchases on iTunes, view your calendar and email and even wipe your devices.
Services such as those provided by Google and Amazon (and Dropbox and many others) are very useful, but need to be managed properly. Make sure you know what information you store in only and are happy with the level of protection given. Make sure you use the security effectively, enabling additional levels of security if they are available.