Last weekend I tipped a glass of wine over my laptop.
(It is an embarrasing truth that this isn’t the first, or even the second of my laptops to suffer from alcohol in the keyboard.)
Although my old friend looks fine when I boot it up, the keyboard no longer works (nor any ancillary keyboard I plug into it) so I can’t enter my PIN and log in.
I’d hoped it might dry out and recover. Such optimism had been justified last summer when my mobile fell from a top pocket into the fishpond while I was blanket-weeding. Indeed, at one point – on Tuesday – I was actually able to enter all four numbers and log into my laptop, although I couldn’t do anything requiring letters.
It has occurred to me, while typing this, that I could have used my wireless mouse (which was working fine) to open the on-screen keyboard, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and at the time I didn’t think of it. Since then, even those number keys that had worked have died.
It was quite cheap wine, so it’s probably eaten into connections. ☹
What has surprised me, is how easy it was to set up my account on my husband’s laptop. With all my documents on the cloud, and my links synchronised on Chrome, I haven’t had to look up any of the carefully coded passwords saved on my phone.
I now have a new laptop, which emphasises how painfully slow my old one was. It took very little time to set up. Bought as a pre-black Friday bundle, it is possibly a blessing in disguise.
In spite of the delay caused when each new task requires yet another program I haven’t downloaded yet, it has been an unexpectedly painless experience.
My only reservation is, if it’s this easy for me, how easy would it be for someone to become me (virtually speaking) if they could log in to my laptop (or, indeed, anyone’s laptop) with my Microsoft password or PIN.
I have, however, had to check my password database for another reason this week.
I am registered on the website Have I Been Pwned to receive email alerts of data breaches, and yesterday I had such an alert for a website I use.
Have I Been Pwned has a search facility where you enter a password to learn if it has been included in any known data breaches. If it has, you won’t know where unless you subscribe, but even if it wasn’t your account that was hacked, it indicates that your unique password is less unique than you thought.
You can also sign up (free) to be alerted when hacks are discovered, although there are several reasons why this may be some time after the actual breach.
Having received such an email alert, I checked the relevant password at https://haveibeenpwned.com/. Sure enough, my password had been ‘pwned’. I immediately changed it and spent the rest of my working day going through accounts on my database to check if I’d used that password anywhere else.