Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 04:58 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption What's it like to be hacked? James Fallows over at the Atlantic Monthly tells us his experience. One night his wife left her computer on when she went to bed. The next morning she discovers her Gmail account is inaccessible!
E-mail Print r 3   · Read More · 43 Comment(s)
Thread beginning with comment 495639
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Why focus on password?
by jaco on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 18:01 UTC
jaco
Member since:
2009-12-27

I had my gmail account stolen by a homonymous guy. He just used the "Someone else is using my account" procedure. I know for sure, because I've been able to talk to that guy afterwards. Even the guy was somewhat surprised the procedure worked so easily.

I got my account back using the same procedure, in a matter of hours, just to discover that all my email was gone.

I tried to contact Google about the issue, but even after finding a way to, maybe, contact them via email, I received no answer at all. I tried to contact Google about the easiness for someone else to steal an account too, but didn't get an answer.

All my previous email was gone. Now I perform regular backups myself, using IMAP, and this is for a simple reason: I don't trust Google and its services. Their services are usually not bad, they're cheap too and I don't hate them at all.

However, after that issue with them, I learnt that they don't provide any easy way to contact them beyond web forms for usual (and usually trivial) problems. They keep users at a distance. They don't care about their users and their users' data, unless their image (thus their business) would get hurt. In my experience, they're the most careless company in IT.

I think they're not evil, as they like to remember all the time. But they're not good either, they're just as any other company in the business. Just a bit more careless than direct competitors in my opinion...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Why focus on password?
by benali72 on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 20:14 in reply to "Why focus on password?"
benali72 Member since:
2008-05-03

I think you've hit on a HUGE problem. The trend in the cyber-world we've created is that the LAST thing big companies want is to be bothered by their customers. So they deal with them only by email and keep them at arm's length.

Maybe it was this guy's fault he got hacked, or maybe not, but what kind of "service" has Google provided to help him? Hardly anything. You can argue that Gmail is free, but this sort of attitude is prevalent even when you pay for services.

It is unreasonable to expect the average user to handle this unless you provide very easy ways for them to backup and/or recover their data themselves. Google doesn't. It's not part of the business model. One issue is that most users quite naturally assume it is. If Google publicly said this they'd be off the hook, but I've sure never heard them mention this in their self-promotional infomercials.

Reply Parent Score: 1