You can partially switch to Yahoo and take other steps to shield your data from Google, but what happens if Google itself is compromised? One particularly privacy-conscious Computerworld contributor suggests five potential scenarios and the "Defcon 1" and "Defcon 2" solutions.
Logan Kugler explores the two sides of the risk coin when using Google services: the data Google is pulling from you, and the sensitive things hackers could pull out of you or Google itself through password cracking or authorisation fake-outs. Each risk is then broken into two steps: "Defcon 2" for smart but probably sensible fixes, and "Defcon 1" for, well, people who are securing the world's nuclear armament information (or at least feel like they are).
If you're concerned about phishing attacks, keylogging or other work-around password hacks, for example, "sandboxing" with a virtual machine might be the Defcon 1 solution:
"Sandbox" your browser. Use virtualization software like VMware Player or Parallels Desktop to create a self-contained operating system so that viruses and other malware cannot access your hard drive directly — and when you're done, trash the session and start a new one from the original disk image. A browser sandbox such as Sandboxie also offers some protection by isolating your browser from the rest of the system.
The article is worth a skim, at least, for those wondering what the next step in security might be if the current setup seems a little lax. Give us your own Defcon 1 & 2 solutions to tricky security problems around the water cooler below.
The smart paranoid's guide to using Google [Computerworld]