So there are a lot of things I did wring with my computer security that led to plenty of anxiety over the last week. I’ll out myself here with all the stupid things I did in hopes that some of you will realize that theft and burglary are real problems in a down economy, and that it can in fact happen to you.
1) I didn’t password-protect my laptop. It’s a simple thing, but I thought it would be too much of a pain in the ass to put a password lock on my machine. That left my computer hugely vulnerable to the folks that stole it. As far as I can tell, they made no effort to access any of my accounts, even though I had a ton of stored passwords on there. So I lucked out in having stupid crooks that didn’t realize the potential goldmine they had found, but it still left me standing in the hotel lobby using their internet terminal until 2:30 AM trying to remember all the places I had online accounts and changing those passwords.
2) I didn’t password-protect my browser. Now I use a master password on my Firefox (that is different from the password to the computer) so that even if someone gets into the machine, they have another roadblock to get into my stored passwords. I know none of this is foolproof, but it’s all about making things inconvenient for thieves. I made it too easy this time, so I’m determined not to make that same mistake again.
3) I carried too much expensive shit in one bag. My backpack was worth nearly $4,500 by the time everything was tallied up, and that’s just nuts. It’s a great idea to carry your digital SLR in a bag with your laptop if you’re a pro photographer, but if you’re Joe Average like me, a separate bag might have saved my camera at least.
4) I was lazy. I sat at the office thinking about driving back to my hotel and dropping off my backpack, but I didn’t want to fight traffic for 30 minutes just to drop off my bag at the hotel and turn right around and go back to Little Five Points. You can bet that my bag won’t be sitting on the passenger seat in plain view ever again, and next time around I’ll certainly take the extra steps to secure my shit in my hotel room.
Through all of this, Nationwide has been great, they’ve responded to all my requests quickly and with no BS. I couldn’t be happier with the customer service I’ve received from them. I doubt I’ll replace my digital camera right away, but when I do it looks like the Nikon D90 is the way to go. It’s a significant jump in price from the Rebel XTi that I had, so I’ll have to save my pennies. But I think I’ll come out of this not hurting too badly. Thanks for all the concern, it was a huge nuisance and a feeling of violation, but now everything is getting back to normal.