Atlantic writer James Fallows is sounding the alarm about a Gmail “hacking epidemic.” The gmail accounts of his wife and three other people he knows have been hacked! That’s definitely a hacking epidemic in the world of “James Fallows acquaintances.” But is something bigger going down?Well, plenty of people are tweeting about their gmail accounts being hacked—we counted 28 in the last 24 hours. “My Gmail was hacked yesterday so ignore any weird email you got frm me,” wrote Emiliym. ” I didn’t try acai berry & I’m not using weight loss drug.” Oddly, it seems like media-types have been hit especially hard (or are just being especially vocal about it, which is equally likely!) In addition to Fallows’ wife, New York Times writer Amanda Hesser and New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright were recent victims.
A couple dozen of Gmail’s 190+ million users doesn’t really make an “epidemic,” even if a few of those are famous writers.
But checking Google trends, we see a sharp increase in people searching for “gmail hacked” this month. And tweets containing the phrase “gmail hack” and “gmail hacked” have been on the rise all year, according to Google real-time search.
So, yeah, let’s call it an epidemic. Likely in response to the epidemic, Google rolled-out a “two-factor authentication” option for Gmail recently which requires you to sign in using a code generated by an app on your smartphone as well as your gmail password. I’ve been using it ever since Gawker was hacked and definitely recommend it. Not only is it more secure, it makes you feel like a spy or something! Like someone whose Gmail is actually worth hacking into. Which, apparently, it is. Congratulations, everyone: we’ve made it.
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