Reporter Mat Honan fell victim to a multipronged attack by hackers this past weekend, and he's just published an exhaustive piece at Wired detailing the incident. Targeted simply because of his short, desirable Twitter handle, ultimately the perpetrators needed only Honan's Apple ID email address, billing address, and the last four digits of his credit card to wreak havoc on his digital life.
But how they managed to obtain that sensitive information is easily the most worrisome aspect of this unfortunate story. By taking advantage of alarmingly relaxed security policies at Apple and Amazon, hackers were able to breach Honan's Twitter, Google, and iCloud accounts. They remotely wiped all content stored on his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro. Over a year's worth of personal memories were instantly gone, including precious photos of his young daughter — Honan's only hope now is that data recovery can find a way to salvage those files.
In the aftermath, Apple has pledged to review processes for resetting account passwords, though Wired confirms the workarounds used to victimize Honan are still functioning today. The full account is a worthwhile read, and yet another harrowing example of why you should take every available measure to protect your online identity.