Detective Cy was busy reading over the details of her most recent case when the phone began to ring.
Gina, a school teacher, had been working from home later than usual the previous evening – she had fallen behind on work and was finishing entering grades after her kids had gone to bed. When she logged in, she realized that her account was already logged into the school’s network! She was able to kick the other user off and immediately changed her password, and also reported the issue to the district’s IT department.
Cy asked if she might have left her work computer on, or if someone could have cracked her password. Gina claimed that was impossible, she always shut down her computer and her password was so complex that she had it written down on a note at her desk.
Without another word, Cy hung up the phone and drove to school to meet with Gina and the school’s IT Expert – Steve. Cy asked if Steve figured out who was using Gina’s computer last night. Steve claimed that it would be easy enough to track the IP address of any device that made contact with their network.
After a few minutes of searching, Steve found the exact computer that connected to the network last night. It belonged to Billy, one of Gina’s students! Steve was unable to track what Billy had done while logged into Gina’s account, but it was clear to the Gina that at least some grades had been changed.
Billy was brought into the office, and Cy began to search his backpack. There, Cy found the sticky note with Gina’s password. When she wasn’t looking, he had taken it from her desk. Then, he used the stolen information to hijack her account. The case was solved!
Always use the following tactics to keep your accounts secure:
- Never write your username and password on a notepad where someone other than you could access them. Do not use the same password across multiple accounts.
- When possible, always use two factor authentication to protect your email account.
- Secure your computer or laptop with a strong password, using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Always lock your screen when leaving your computer unattended.