It was bound to happen sooner or later. I logged into one of my online accounts yesterday evening to find a notice that someone had accessed said account via an Android product the night before. I neither own an Android product (my phone more closely resembles a Zack Morris phone) nor work on my computer at the time of night the account was accessed.
Thankfully, the account was a social networking account that contains little to no private information. Still, the incident was a bit disconcerting. It really made me consider the amount of information about me that is stored online behind short passwords, and the damage that someone could do by accessing this information. I am part of a generation that assumes that our banking, our emails, and even our medical records are safe online. This is not always a safe assumption.
Furthermore, it seems that as academia becomes more and more digitized, we, the (future) professoriate, are making similar assumptions about our academic works. Online submission sites for manuscripts and for conference abstracts come to mind, as do sites such as Scholar in which we store information about our students’ grades. The results of an unintended person accessing (and perhaps altering) this information could be devastating.
When I shared these concerns with a friend, he recommended KeePassX, a password management system. GradHacker recommends requiring two-factor authentication as well as setting aside a few hours to check our accounts for strong (unique) passwords.
How do the rest of you keep your accounts safe?