Changing the Virtual Locks

In my native Australia, a woman was the victim of a home invasion. Her home was broken into and many of her valuables—laptop, cash and jewellery were stolen which, with a home invasion is to (unfortunately) be expected.

However that wasn’t the worst of it.

The woman was victimised by this thief a second time when she discovered that the thief posted on her Facebook page, brazenly and hypocritically, telling her to be more careful with her security. The thief was able to do this as he or she (the thief has not yet been identified) also stole the woman’s hard copy of her online passwords.

The thief detailed that he or she left the keys in a hat and didn’t take her chargers, but it was this part of the post that is a combination of disturbing, brazen, hypocritical but also a cautionary tale for all of us.

“I try to be considerate, you should change your password and use more secure ones, and a locking filing cabinet, your passports will be returned to you, your locks are fine and rather tough to pick, no prints on anything for sure, sincerest apologies.”*

As I said this post is disturbing, brazen and hypocritical, however the thief is ironically making a good point. We should be more careful with our security, especially our online security. Australian police have said that this could become more common as if a thief stole your wallet, they could only get so much, but if they stole your passwords, they could get much more. This is especially true now that our computers and phones are more than just for typing emails and documents and sending texts and making phone calls respectively. Our computers and phones are part of our lives and control them.

Now that we have become a society that is digitally dependent as we socialise, shop and bank online, we are also becoming aware of the dangers—The dangers of viruses, hacking and technical glitches. Because of these particular dangers, more and more people are keeping hard copies of their passwords, which are a good thing, however how many of us have really thought about the danger of someone breaking into our homes and stealing hard copies of our passwords?

I’m not saying we should be paranoid and trust no-one. We shouldn’t be paranoid about whether someone will break into our homes, sit in the dark, holding a cricket bat or a golf club, ready and waiting. What I’m saying is that we should take the same precautions with our passwords that we do with our homes. With our homes we go to the trouble to lock the doors and windows. With our passwords we should print them out, lock them up with our other important documents and hide them. Although hide them somewhere in the house where both you know where to find them but thieves won’t and remember to change the hiding place from time to time, but close enough to the doors so you can access them in an emergency.

Like with our house/apartment and car keys, we should always know where our passwords or digital keys are at all times.

*This quote is part of the Facebook post by the thief .

This article was originally published on Tech Reviewer on 13 April 2014 and can be found here.