Wednesday, August 8, 2012

(updated) How to Avoid a Mat Honan Style Mac & iCloud Hack

How to Avoid a Mat Honan Style Mac & iCloud Hack, article.
By now, the news of Wired journalist Mat Honan’s “Epic Hacking” has hit the mainstream news. Late last week, in a matter of minutes, Mr. Honan lost control of his Gmail, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple accounts to a brutal hack and saw his personal data on computers and devices in his possession wiped away in front of his eyes.

It was complex, and not everything could have been foreseen. But one thing sticks in the eyes: maliciously, the hackers deleted all his files even on his laptop (via iCloud Find My Phone which he had activated), and he did not have a backup of his files! And this is a technology journalist we are talking about.
Also, don't use the same passwords different places, and preferably even not the same username. And if you can avoid it, don't use the same credit card in two important places, like Amazon and Apple. Enable passcodes on phones etc.
Oh, and social networks are a gift from heaven for private investigators, police, and lawyers (my lawyer once used them to find a guy who was using one of my trademarks without permission), so I imagine they are for hackers too. Take notice what you put up there, have the attitude everything can be seen by everybody, no matter your settings.
Google has this new Two-Step procedure, where, if somebody is trying to log into your account on a computer you have not authorized, a code is sent to your phone which must be typed into the computer they/you are using. This is a big step up in security. And it should not be too much of a pain in the bee-hind since you can authorize the one or two computers only you use. You can even set a second phone as backup, for instance your landline or your spouse's phone.

Newest news is that Apple and Amazon are doing some damage control and updating their security procedures after this hacking flub.


Bruce said...

"... he did not have a backup of his files! And this is a technology journalist we are talking about."

Thank you for emphasizing that. Yes, there are things that Apple, Amazon, Google, and whatever could do better. Most of the blogsphere have commented at length about those aspects. However, I have yet to read an article about this where the author recommends a backup product or even admits that they back up regularly!

Ultimately, Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. are not responsible for your files, you are. Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper, CrashPlan Pro, and others, should be mentioned along with two factor authentication. CrashPlan Pro will make incremental backups to another computer in your home even while you are traveling with a laptop.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

A few years ago, Apple finally made a built-in easy backup system, Time Machine. It's one of those things which really always should have been part of PCs. I don't know if Windows has anything similar yet.

Bruce said...

Time Machine is not perfect, but it sure is easy. That's very important for the casual computer user.

Something super easy for Windows would be good. Backing up Android phones and tablets is not easy either.

I'd like to see an "International backup week" that is heavily promoted by the tech press and the manufacturers.