By now, you may have heard the story of the identity 'hack' perpetrated against Wired journalist Mat Honan. Using easily obtained data, an anonymous duo bluffed its way into changing his Amazon account, then his Apple iCloud account, then his Google account and ultimately the real target, Twitter. Both Amazon and Apple were docked for how easy it was to modify an account over the phone -- and, in close succession, have both put at least a momentary lockdown on the changes that led to Honan losing much of his digital presence and some irreplaceable photos. His own publication has reportedly confirmed a policy change at Amazon that prevents over-the-phone account changes. Apple hasn't been as direct about what's going on, but Wired believes there's been a 24-hour hold on phone-based Apple ID password resets while the company marshals its resources and decides how much extra strictness is required.
Neither company has said much about the issue. Amazon has been silent, while Apple claims that some of its existing procedures weren't followed properly, regardless of any rules it might need to mend. However the companies address the problem, this is one of those moments where the lesson learned is more important than the outcome. Folks: if your accounts and your personal data matter to you, use truly secure passwords and back up your content. While Honan hints that he may have put at least some of the pieces back together, not everyone gets that second chance.