Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reality Check

Last week as I tried to pull up my gmail account, Google informed me that they had suspended my account because of suspicious activity.  I could not access my email.  Not good.  I quickly found my heart rate escalating. I had a sense of impending doom.  My android phone is also driven by Google's software.  That means that all my contacts are hosted by Google.  They could deny me access to my own lists of phone numbers and email addresses.

Now, I'm glad that they noticed any unusual activity on my account.  I'm glad that they promptly shut down any scammer who may have hijacked my account.  I don't know how a hacker could have accessed my account -- although a couple of days before I had logged on at Panera Bread and checked email.

I was able to get back into my account after a couple of hours of considerable angst. 

But this lock-down has made me do some serious thinking.  These Google folks are trying to help me by keeping other people off of my account.  If the people who are on my side (I hope they really are...) can shut down my cyber life, I wonder what could happen if someone with evil intent got control.

They could mine my contacts for all kinds of info (maybe about you).  They could deny me access to all my Google accounts.  They could intercept my email.  They could disable my cell phone.  They could shut down my main lines of communication entirely.  This is not a comforting thought.

In the aftermath of my great panic, I set up a Yahoo account.  At least now I will have some means of emailing without the permission of Google.  I'm still dependent on the internet -- no way around that for email.  But when I used Outlook, my contacts were stored only on my very own computer.

Is it smart to avoid being so dependent on someone else holding my vital info?  Yeah, I think it is.  I'm just not sure how to do it. 

I also believe that we have become far too dependent on computers in general.  We live in a world where virtual reality can be confused with actual reality.  That brings me to my knees as I worship the One who never changes.  I know I can always count on God.  I don't have to worry about him shutting me out or suspending my account.  I have to remember that my real life is not on my computer anyway.

I know this blog is on Blogger, courtesy of Google.