heartbleed: the expat editionContrary to the mythical serenity of expat life, 2014 has been the year of security breaches in the Defining Moves household. And we don’t seem to be rising to the challenge.

In February, our cars were broken into while they sat in our driveway, under the carport. There are two things of note with this; firstly, the only reason we knew that they had been targeted was that the thieves very kindly left the doors open so as not to wake us. Hence the first conversation was not “we’ve been burgled” but a lengthy, accusation ruled tirade about “who came in last and left the car doors open”..

It continued in the same vein when the Sheriff arrived. Her first question pertained to the ‘break-in’, at which point I squirmed.

” Define the term ‘break’..?”

Predictably, we had all left our car doors unlocked, and the genius in the family (that would be me) had also left a handbag in the car, now noticeably absent. A round of lengthy phone calls to the Department of Motor Vehicles, various card companies and the bank ensued.

By far the most annoying part of all this was the Other Half, who constantly nags me about locking the car when leaving it for more than three seconds, and who correctly predicted that I had left my purse in it. There are few things in life more irritating than the words ‘I told you so’ coming from a smug spouse.

The theme continued last week, with the advent of the HeartBleed virus. It prompted a flutter of panic in my heart, not so much the virus itself, but thought of

  1.  remembering all those passwords in the first place and
  2. having to update all the people who I shared said passwords with.

There is a certain irony when hackers are the only people who actually do know your log in details..

The Other Half came up trumps, with a list of sites affected that narrowed down my workload to a mere sliver. I crafted a new password that would pass even the most convoluted security requirement and set to work. And promptly spent the rest of the evening binging on Hulu’s back catalogue, which according to my list, was one of the sites unaffected. Safety first, I always say.

But the Gods of spousal comeuppance were smiling on me this morning, as the Other Half trudged into the bedroom with a strong waft of Burning Martyr following close behind.

“Why were you so late to bed last night?”

“I was changing all the passwords.” (said with a pious, superior air.) Do you know how many we have for all our expat health insurance? And our credit union accounts? But don’t worry, we’ve got a really strong password now”

At which point he reels off a long string of garbled numbers, letters and symbols that Bletchley Park would struggle to remember. And judging by the number of hesitations, missteps and corrections, so did he.

Cue pregnant pause.

Me: “Please tell me you did only do the ones that were listed on that email you sent me? The sites that actually use Open SSL encryption?”

OH: Silence

OH: “I’ll write the password down for you.”

Good to know that security is a priority. Now anyone who wants to get hold of our passwords has to navigate the enormous stack of unfiled paperwork that the Other Half leaves constantly in his wake.

Sometimes, low tech is the best defense.



One Response to Heartbleed: the expat edition

  1. naomi says:

    Classic! My list was pretty short, but I can totally relate to the changing of the passwords. Painful!

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