When I was just starting school eons ago it was still in the era of drills that required us to get under our desk in the event of a nuclear attack. The fear (or not) of nuclear armageddon was just something we lived with, just like the stocked up shelter my dad had built in the basement. In this era as we’ve watched security theatre become a part of our traveling lives, those that pay attention to threats to our online lives also live with the shadow of someone hacking into one of our many accounts. Goodness knows there have been the digital equivalent of reams of words written about online security, passwords, etc… And there’s an entire industry out there that wants to help keep your online life secure. After awhile the warnings and drills and security checks run the risk of melding into the white noise that surrounds us daily.
You can certainly argue that there’s no real way to prevent an account from being hacked and that all the precautions one can take are no really no different than the old duck and cover exercise. Cynical? Maybe. Prudent? Not so much.
But on to the story. Take a look at former Gizmodo’s editor Mat Honan’s story. He was hacked, and in his words, hacked hard. Not only was an account hacked (his iCloud account) but that event led to the malefactors remote wiping his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air. In addition they gained access to his Twitter account and Gizmodo’s Twitter account, and his GMail account. It’s pretty much a nightmare scenario. Matt has all the details and the piece is worth a read for many reasons.
Especially if you are one of those folks who let the constant reminders about security and hacking dangers become the background noise.
UPDATE: Take another look at Mat’s post and his updates. Especially the third update. It appears Matt has been in contact with the hacker who did the damage and Mat offers this intriguing, and I hope soon to be expanded comment:
Confirmed with both the hacker and Apple. It wasn’t password related. They got in via Apple tech support and some clever social engineering that let them bypass security questions.
Things get curiouser and curiouser by the moment. MacRumors is reporting that the hacker convinced Apple Support that he was Mat Honan and that Apple Support then changed Honan’s password giving the hacker complete access. This ain’t good folks.