Thursday, December 05, 2013

Change your password. Now. Please.

I woke up early to the sound of my smartphone vibrating on the nightstand. My first thought was a quick "ruh roh" as thoughts of Scooby Doo darted through my sleep-addled brain. If the phone rings before dawn, something is always up, and it usually involves meddling kids, old, grumpy men who live in abandoned mine communities, and some ascot-wearing doofus with a plan.

I quickly shook off the remnants of a cartoon nightmare and snapped to attention. Since it was my cell and not the landline, I was comforted that no one had died or gotten sick. It was a producer from Toronto. She was from CTV's Canada AM, and they wanted to talk about this week's revelation that 2 million username/password combinations had been stolen from major web companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, and subsequently posted online.

The list illustrated a number of things we've known for years: we tend to use the same usernames and passwords for multiple services and accounts, we tend to use easily-guessed passwords (123456? Seriously?) and we rarely, if ever, change them.

So in a blink I was grabbing my laptop, making myself look pretty (well, as close to presentable as this hideous face is ever going to get), setting up my big-time kitchen studio with the bamboo window coverings, and settling in for a chat with Marcia MacMillan. Marie the Director calmly talked in my ear and expertly made sure everything was perfectly set up for the hit. I was in amazing hands and I've got to admit it felt pretty darn good to be sitting in the chair.

The interview went well - the video is here if you want to watch - and when we were off-air, I shut FaceTime down, tossed on my boots and coat and saw our daughter's smiling face pop into the kitchen. Another early morning choir practice, another reminder that I'm beyond lucky to be able to weave live television, radio and media work into our family's day-to-day life.

Some days, you just have to pinch yourself a little.


Michael Manning said...

Hey, Carmi: A good report on a serious subject for all. Well done! :)

TheUnsuitableGuy said...

I change my passwords on a semi regular basis. Unfortunately this usually means I soon forget what I've changed them too. I doubt it will be long before other platforms choose to implement some form of Apple Iphone's fingerprint scanning technology... It would make life a whole lot easier.