People Of Authy: Severine Griziaux
Hi, my name is Severine, the new marketing manager at Authy. A little about me:
- I’m not a developer
- I have a basic understanding of how the Internet works, but I can’t read or write code
- Except for big headlines surrounding a new hack or malware warning, I’m not typically seeking or consuming digital security news
- I am a non-technical user of the Internet but I do know how to use the Internet for personal and professional purposes
In other words, I’m pretty similar to the type of person Authy is built for: someone who needs account protection online, but who could easily get overwhelmed if it was too complicated.
My perspective of Authy technology skews a little differently.
Let me share some thoughts with you:
- Would you use Blu-tack putty to hang an expensively framed piece of art on the wall?
- Would you use kite string to lock up your bike on the sidewalk?
- Would you tie your kids shoelaces with just a single knot, or have no knot at all?
Hopefully, you answered “of course not” to the questions above. Why? Because doing so would be risky. And as a species, we like to—no, we’re programmed to—manage risk wherever we can.
You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to the crash of your framed picture shattering as it falls to the floor. You don’t want to encourage theft of your personal items by making it super easy. And you certainly don’t want to have to rush to the emergency room because your kid fell on his or her face because they tripped over untied laces that you were careless about.
Whether you’re at home, driving your car, meeting friends at a cafe, or plugging away at work, you take the extra step to protect your life, your stuff, and your family.
So what about managing risks on the Internet?
Sure, it’s convenient. I can access any of my accounts from any device in any country at any time. Just a decade or so ago we would have still thought this was pretty futuristic stuff. (Remember when we first witnessed gestural interface as mastered by Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’? Pretty cool stuff then. Pretty par-for-the-course now.) Today, convenience is a user priority.
So what about security?
You hear about hacks, identity theft, and stolen accounts all the time. There’s a lot of private stuff on the Internet we just assume is protected. If you don’t SEE it, you tend to ignore it: your bank accounts, online shopping transactions, multi-player gaming accounts, health records, travel itineraries, your privacy even. It’s all up for grabs.
It is kind of like that 80’s Police song was a popular wedding choice for a bride & groom’s first dance until we all realized it was about a guy stalking a stranger.
“Every single day, Every word you say, I’ll be watching you.”
Hackers, scarily enough, are watching you. They want to know everything about you. And thanks to the Internet, they can. Easily. Your credit card numbers, where your kids go to school, your social security number, your easy-to-guess passwords that you use EVERYWHERE.
I, myself, have had my bank account hacked. I waited weeks to get my money back and spent numerous hours canceling and updating credit cards. When something like this happens it’s eye-opening to realize just how many places have your credit card info on file: restaurants, schools, your car insurance company, your dentist, your doctor, your vet, your wireless provider, your landlord, Amazon, eBay, Target, Zappo’s… The list goes on and on.
Here’s something to think about:
- If 9 out of 10 Americans are online…
- And 3 out of 4 have been the victim of some sort of cyber attack…
- Then nearly 70% of the US population have been (or will soon be) cybercrime victims!
Extrapolate this to a global audience of about 3 billion Internet users, it would mean that 2.1 billion people could conceivably be exposed to a cyber attack.
The single biggest vulnerability? The password.
And it’s not just the user’s fault:
- 64% of top US websites have questionable password policies.
- 51% make no attempt to block entry after 10 failed login attempts
- 55% will accept notoriously weak login passwords such as “123456” and “password”
So what are your options? How do you increase security?
Indeed, when my home was broken into (long story), I installed an alarm on each window and door. When my phone was stolen I added fingerprint recognition to my replacement. And when our car got stolen we added a tracking system to my new car. We add security everywhere!
But when my online accounts got hacked, I did NOTHING. I kept MY password. MY old, unique and beloved password. Didn’t change it, didn’t upgrade for more security.
Why would I? The websites I was on said my password was “STRONG”. But I had that same password since I created my first Hotmail account in 1998, nearly two decades ago. Back then it was the bomb. And with each new account, I’d tweak it a bit. I added my kids birth dates and initials so I can easily remember them when a single password isn’t strong enough.
These passwords protect everything — my Gmail account, Google Analytics, WordPress, Netflix, Hotmail, Youtube, Twitch.tv, Vimeo, Yelp, OpenTable, Humble Bundle… and approximately 40 other accounts, plus my computers, bank accounts…my entire online and offline life.
I thought this was a good idea until I was told to think about it in physical terms. Would I use the same physical key for my house, car, bike padlock, bank account, file cabinet, and boat? Of course not.
So when I started to research a next career move, I discovered Authy.
That’s when I also discovered an additional step of user authentication that can easily be set up on most of our e-accounts. Indeed, more and more companies are offering this option for free (Gmail, Facebook, Twitch, Coinbase, WordPress, etc.). It’s not painful, there is nothing to remember, no major time commitment, and it minimizes the risk associated with today’s online perps!
I tried the product (I had never even heard of “2FA” before then). It’s sounded simple, and it was. You just … switch it on.
And then, whenever I log into my email or Facebook account, sign into my husband’s Twitch account, or go to create a blog entry, I receive a SMS simply asking me to APPROVE or DENY the action. This is where the simplicity happens. If I am indeed initiating this activity, I APPROVE. If I am not – that means someone else has my username and password pair, and I DENY.
The hacker is stopped. The accounts are safe. Can’t get much easier than that.
It sounds cliche, but I liked the product so much I knew I wanted to work for the company. And here I am. A new advocate for 2FA adoption, and a new Authy evangelist.
- If you’re like me—a typical internet user—do yourself a favor and get the Authy app today.
- If you’re a developer or company interested into adding the option to your service in order to protect your customers’ data, start here.
And remember, if you’re at a life stage where you’re still tying your kid’s shoes, double knots are always best. You’re welcome. 🙂