At first, we thought it was our cat, Oscar, who had caused the mass destruction in our living room. We even laughed it off, thinking that he must have seen a fly and done his best puma impression to track it down and pounce on it. That all changed as we went down the hallway to our bedroom and saw the contents of our drawers strewn about the floor.
After a quick call to 911, we had two police officers in our bedroom assessing the situation. It turns out we were one of 15 break-ins over a seven-day period in the neighborhood. We lost three laptops, two iPods, two backpacks, an external hard drive, irreplaceable jewelry just handed down to my fiancée from her mother, and more. We had been away from the house for an hour; when we returned, it was all gone.
Given my role here at Commonwealth, I of course had a ton of security measures on my electronic devices. As violated as we felt, at least we knew that nobody could access our personal documents, passwords, or other sensitive data. That’s why I want to share my experience, along with some of the security measures I had taken, to help you protect your own data in the event your electronic devices are stolen.
I’ll discuss two-factor authentication first because I believe it is the most important. This security features is very similar to how our advisors log in to our back-office website for the first time on a new computer. Google’s Matt Cutts puts it like this: “Two-factor authentication is a simple feature that asks for more than just your password. It requires both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone).”
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend enabling two-factor authentication on your online accounts right away. Here are a few of the companies that offer it:
- Microsoft Outlook (coming soon)
- Yahoo! Mail
- Amazon Web Services
Because I had this security measure in place, the burglars wouldn’t have been able to get to any of my data, even if I had saved my passwords on the device. With two-factor authentication on my LastPass and Google accounts, even if the burglars had known my passwords, they would still need my cell phone to get in. And, if they had my phone, they would need to log into it to receive the code, but they wouldn’t be able to because I could wipe it clean with Find My iPhone, which I’ll discuss in the second installment of this post . . .