Your account has been hacked

By Friday, September 12, 2014

Just a few days after the terrible iCloud fiasco, news of Gmail accounts being hacked started spreading. I was more shocked about the number - 5 million accounts were hacked.

Leaking obscene pictures of celebrities was pathetic enough, now these hackers are displaying someone's email password in public. We live half of our lives through our email address - there are bank statements, travel tickets, personal pictures and what not.

If I am being really honest, I wasn't so sad when I read that iCloud was hacked
A- Because I don't own any Apple Product
B- Now I can give this as a valid reason for not using an iPhone or a Mac instead of the usual 'I can't afford it'

But I was appalled when I realized the hackers can break into Google's Security wall so easily. There is no denying that Google controls a massive part of the internet - we use Google's services knowingly or unknowingly everyday. Did you know even iPhones use some of Google's own services ? If my Gmail account got hacked today - I wouldn't be able to access this blog, my emails or even my phone. Thats how much it controls our life.

Imagine this kind of hack happening 4-5 years from now when everybody would be using cashless and card-less payments through Apple Pay and Google Wallet, we could get robbed even without stepping out of our house.
I can't help but wonder where technology is taking us today. On one side internet gives us the freedom of speech like no other platform, where we can make any information we want public. But at the same time we want boundaries to protect our personal data, the kind of data we wouldn't want anybody to get their hands on. The sad part is, there is a very thin, almost invisible line between both of them and it wouldn't be completely visible for a very long time.

PS - I got my hands on the original list of all the email addresses that were hacked and it has A LOT of Indian names. So if you are Gmail user, you should definitely:
  • Change your password. RIGHT NOW. (And then come here and tell me you have)
  • Always use atleast 2 special characters in your password. It makes difficult for the hackers to differentiate your password from the script they are running.
  • Use 2 Step verification as an extra step ONLY if you don't have an android phone. If you use this verification and you get locked out of your phone, you have to call Google to unlock it (Yes, you read it right! )
  • Regularly click on the details link at the right bottom of your Gmail page. It shows you the IP addresses and location that accessed your account
  • Don't share your password with anyone. If you didnt know that, you need to go back to school

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  1. Surprisingly, Google knows and has more data about us than we ourselves know ;) That said, well, walls will be broken and stronger ones will be built, again and again. High time, they use Ambuja cement now :D (yes, it's not funny but I just had to write it :P)

    1. Thats so true.. Google has way more information about us then we'll ever know

    2. @shashank, or they can opt for binani cement, because deewar jo chale sadiyo ke liye

  2. Good article on this burning topic Ritikaji and thanks for voting my post on indiblogger.

  3. I saw your tweet on twitter and changed my password then and there. :) Thanks a lot for that.
    I kept thinking what if someone gets into my gmail account and deletes all my blog posts.. :( :(

  4. Great article Ritika but very terrifying though. 2-step verification is a must now for my accounts' security.