Several media outlets have recently reported a large leak of email addresses and passwords from Gmail accounts, located primarily in Europe. On Twitter and Facebook, links are being provided to do a quick check to see if your email account is compromised. After the disappointment of recent security breaches (Heartbleed, iCloud and now, this one), we are entitled to ask whether our information and our personal or professional content is safe. And what can be done to shelter ourselves from fraud.
It’s important not to provide an ID (email, password, etc.) on any sites that are not safe or verified. It’s easy for anyone to create a malicious website to collect your information. A simple, valid email address has value on the market for online advertising. Take for example the sleaked.com site, which aims to check if your email address is included in the list of hacked Gmail accounts, which is widely circulated through social media. Even typing a random email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, indicates that the address is indeed on this list. Another strange fact, after further inspection of the domain’s history, we noticed that it was registered two days before the announcement of the leak; two clues that suggest that this site is used for phishing.
The recent iCloud vulnerabilities, which led to private photos of celebrities available on the internet appear to be caused by targeted attacks. All indications point to weak passwords or easy security questions, which allowed hackers to get hold of pictures or other content of some stars. Although Apple does not seem directly involved, their security system is inadequate and to blame. Although most of us will never be targeted by such attacks, banking information, and personal information or otherwise, could be exposed without effective security measures.
It’s important that you take the necessary steps to properly secure your accounts and, practice responsible behavior on the web. In an era of social media, and with the speed with which information spreads, it’s easy to end up as a victim. The simplest measures are the most efficient ones; change passwords regularly, do not use the same password for all your accounts and opt for complex passwords and answers that only you would know. Do not give out your information to just any website, or, use 2 email accounts; an official one and one where there is no vital and personal information. You are responsible for your virtual identity on the web, so be cautious!https://jameswatt.me/2014/09/