On March 6, 2018, Pete Bergman, who runs a popular web design agency in Seattle, tweeted a picture of a new iPad he had just purchased and added the comment “I just got a new laptop!”
This was a good thing.
The next day, a Facebook friend asked if he had ever gotten a new Mac.
Bergman replied, “I’ve got a Mac mini and a MacBook Pro.
I just got one today!”
(He later added, “No idea what that means.”)
The next morning, a friend asked about his new MacBook Pro and he replied, “‘Just got one’ is what I’m going to say for you!”
Bergman was, as he likes to say, a busy man, but he was also a bit surprised when his new laptop went viral and was followed by the news that he’d lost his job.
“It was like, what the hell?” he says.
“That was really strange.”
After that, the Internet went nuts with questions about whether Bergman’s job was in jeopardy.
“People were saying I’m a scammer,” he says, adding that he was told that his Facebook friend’s comment was actually about a lawsuit.
“So it was a lot of anger.”
Bergman says that the incident wasn’t the first time he’d been in trouble for making an unauthorized purchase.
Back in 2009, he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed for three months.
“I’d have been paralyzed if I’d had a laptop,” he recalls.
But, as a young, tech-savvy, male professional, he had the tools to protect himself.
And he was well-equipped to handle the situation.
“My experience is that if you are an adult and you have the knowledge, you’re very good at protecting yourself,” Bergman explains.
“And if you don’t have the skills, you are going to be at risk.”
One of the ways that Bergman has been able to protect his computer from hackers is by having the company he works for, Creative Artists Agency, use a company-provided password manager.
It’s a feature that has come in for criticism, and there have been reports that Bergmans password manager, which he installed himself, had security holes that could allow anyone to gain access to his private computer.
In other words, there were people out there who knew how to get in.
Bergmann says that he uses his password manager every day to protect the computers of his team, and that he also has a separate password for his company’s website, and he uses it on other computers that aren’t part of Creative Artists’ IT operations.
“We’ve been using a secure password manager since 2014,” he explains.
He says that when he was hacked, he’d used a password manager and password manager for two months before he was able to get it fixed.
“They all have security holes, and it’s very, very easy to get into your data,” he adds.
He doesn’t have a lot more information on the extent of the attacks, but says that there have reportedly been over 100 breaches of his company, and says that if someone had gained access to a computer, it would have been extremely easy for them to delete data.
“All of those things could be wiped out,” he admits.
He also says that even if someone was able access a server and then had access to the password manager on it, it wouldn’t necessarily be able to delete any of his personal data.
So what does Bergman do if he’s having trouble?
“I have a couple of passwords that I can reset,” he tells me.
“Just because you’ve got to change them, that doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten them.
If you don, you should.”
But that’s not all he’s doing.
He’s also adding a third layer of protection: he’s using an online service called iDroid that has a feature called “puppet” that will allow him to use the same password and PIN combinations that are on the company website.
“Puppet is basically a password reset system, and if you can get a new PIN or password, that means that it’s actually possible to get that password back,” Bergmann explains.
That’s something that hasn’t been done before, Bergman notes, but “it’s not too hard to do.”
“I think the people who are going through this right now are people who have the same skills as you do, but they’re not professionals,” he continues.
“Because they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re using tools that are not the same tools that we’re using.
And so they’re going to get screwed, and so they are going get screwed.”
In addition to the security holes in the password managers, Bergmann has also been using an additional password on his website.
When I ask him if he has any plans to change it, he laughs and says, “It’s just