Monday, August 06, 2012


A friend recently had their Gmail account hacked. They had a strong password, but they admitted they had used the same password for other sites. Luckily, they discovered it quite quickly and it doesn't appear that any harm was done.

It's a good idea to use a separate, strong password for your email account because your email account is the "master key" to all your other online accounts. (most password recovery mechanisms use email) I do sometimes reuse the same password, but only for unimportant things like forums or bug trackers which don't have credit card numbers or any other critical information.

This incident gave me the push to get around to setting up 2 factor verification on my Gmail account, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

It wasn't too painful. I installed the Google Authenticator app on my iPhone so I don't have to use SMS.  I also set up my LastPass account to use the Google Authenticator as well.

Most people can't even manage to use decent passwords, let alone deal with 2 factor authentication. But if you can put up with the small extra hassle, it's probably worth it.

Also on the security front, I recently decided to install anti-virus software on our Mac's. There's still debate on whether this is necessary, but with Apple's growing popularity, they're becoming an increasingly attractive target. I picked the free version of Sophos to start. It's always hard to tell how good anti-virus software really is, but this was easy to install, hasn't had any noticeable affect on performance, and is completely unobtrusive. Of course, it's yet one more piece of software running on your machine, and can't help but slow down startup.

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