Numerous headlines about a massive spear phishing attack on top U.S. officials’ Gmail accounts hit earlier today alongside articles covering the ensuing Weinergate “ordeal,” leaving many to wonder, “Could this happen to me?” If you use a standard user name and password to access your online accounts, the answer is, “Yes, it could.”
While nobody is immune to online security threats-- after all, there are no silver bullets -- people can arm themselves with information and technologies that will minimize the chance they will fall victim.
One such technology that became available this year for Gmail and Facebook users is 2-step verification, also known as 2-factor authentication, which businesses have been providing to employees for many years to prevent account takeover.
While the technology has been around for many years, two-factor authentication has become much easier to deploy and maintain, especially within the enterprise, thanks to cloud computing. One good example is our VIP Authentication Service. [We just announced yesterday that e-prescribing leader, DrFirst, will be using VIP to authenticate providers and enable e-prescribing of controlled substances.]
Adding an extra layer of security to personal accounts like webmail and social networking is a good idea, just like it’s a good idea to add another layer of security to access controlled substances. It’s tough to put a price on reputation and privacy. So if a site you frequent offers it, then enable it. As the old saying goes, use it or lose it.