With all the recent hacker attacks on individuals and corporations lately, security has been in the spotlight more than ever. The recent attacks have left many people and companies with losses of data that, in many cases, could not be recovered.
Tech writer Mat Honan is one victim of just such an attack. He only lost one single password to a hacker but, because all of his accounts were connected under the same cloud storage provider, the attacker was able to access his email account and use remote access to delete all the data on his iPad, iPhone and MacBook.
That quickly, everything was gone. Emails, applications, important documents, precious family photos and music- all gone. The first thing you may think is that he should have protected his data better. But there is a larger lesson to be learned here besides stronger passwords and security. Things happen and security fails at times- not just hackers, but hardware and software failure, application and file corruption, and user error can all contribute to data loss.
No matter how secure you think you are, you can be hacked. Security flaws are discovered on practically a daily basis. With the continuing emergence of new software applications, operating systems and security systems, unauthorized access will continue to be a problem for all tech companies. I’m sure Mat Honan thought all of his data was secure. He lost his data simply by using the same credit card on Amazon that he used at Apple. When you use a credit card online, most online retail sites block out all the numbers of your credit card except the last four digits for security reasons. This obviously wasn’t enough. Amazon did exactly that but the hacker gained access to the last four digits of Honan’s card number through a flaw in Amazon’s security protocol and was able to use that to access his account at Apple, as Apple uses the last four digits of a credit card for account authorization. It’s really hard to put the blame on anyone, although both Amazon and Apple claim to have changed their security policies due to this breach. Honan didn’t do anything wrong- about the only way he could have avoided this would have been to use different credit cards at Apple and Amazon.
There are many varying reasons why specific people or corporations are targeted by hackers. Some of these reasons include financial gain, political reasons, and retaliation although sometimes they are just randomly targeted. Many people thought Honan was targeted because of his tech and security writing for Wired Magazine and Gizmodo. As Honan attempted to regain control of his accounts, he communicated with one of the hackers and was told that this was not the reason at all. Turns out, he was targeted because his Twitter account has only three characters. Twitter accounts with only three characters were all claimed long ago and these are coveted possessions. The hackers wanted his Twitter account and the deletion and erasing of his data was done only to prevent him from getting his account back. Just because you can’t think of a reason why you could be a target of a hacking doesn’t mean such a reason doesn’t exist.
So what’s the solution? While there is no way to completely safeguard your online accounts, there most certainly is a way to prevent the loss of your data. Honan is not just some novice computer user- he actually has a very high knowledge of security, and yet the hackers were able to destroy everything he had online, years of data that will possibly never be recovered. The solution is to backup your data, but not just any backup service will do. If a hacker can gain access to one of your accounts, he may be able to use that to access your other accounts.
So you need to backup your data to a service under different security realm: for example have an extra Google Docs account you use ONLY FOR BACKUP.
The best solution would be a service that can backup your data across several cloud services, synchronizing all your notes, documents and files between services such as Dropbox, Evernote, Basecamp, Google Drive and others. This is exactly what cloudHQ does. By syncing data from one service to the next, this protects and safeguards your data from hackers and even accidental deletion by yourself or others that have access to any of your accounts.
Honan said that he wasn’t especially mad at the hackers, he was mostly mad at himself for not backing up his data. If your data changes on a daily basis, backing it up on a constant basis can be quite a job, especially if you are a busy person and don’t have time or just forget to make these backups frequently.cCloudHQ handles this problem as it automatically and in real-time sync your data to all of your other accounts. If you make updates or changes to files or documents in Evernote, they will sync in real-time with other services such as Google Drive. Not only does this help make your life easier as you don’t have to manually sync all your data, but it protects the data in case you lose access to one of your accounts. cloudHQ’s motto is “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and this is important advice to follow or you could end up in the same situation as Mat Honan. By keeping your data in separate cloud services, you are protecting your data in case of data loss or malicious deletion.
Data loss can occur at any time and for a multitude of reasons- even if you have the best security systems and protocols in place, you can be hacked. Storage drives can be wiped clean and your data just disappears like it was never there. Backup is essential and cloudHQ can give you peace of mind that your data is being safeguarded by the most secure cloud data backup service that is available. This was a devastating learning experience for Honan and we should all learn from his experience and take the appropriate backup measures so we aren’t telling our own horror stories later.