Everyone talks about security and making sure your passwords are safe and sound at a time when we’re creating new usernames and passwords all the time to access online services.

But until a security breach slams right into you, you really – and I mean, really – don’t pay that much attention. After all, it’s someone else who’s getting hacked, right? That may be true but over the past month or so, I’ve been given a huge security wake-up call.

It started when my GMail accounting suddenly stopped working. It took some maneuvering and a huge favor from a Canadian working within the Googleplex – but I regained access to all my Google services (Reader, Docs, GMail, etc.) only to discover someone had changed my GTalk greeting. Clearly, someone had been in my account.

Next up was eBay where someone changed all my security settings. Fortunately, there wasn’t any buying or selling activity but it was pretty troubling that my account had been breached. When I notified eBay, their response verged on nonchalance – like it happens all the time so what can you do.

Last but not least, Rogers wouldn’t let me send e-mails yesterday. A call to a helpful Rogers customer service rep (Yup, they do exist!) determined that my Web-based account had been frozen for some reason. Strange.

All of these developments has been like getting splashed with ice-cold water first thing in the morning. As someone who does an awful lot online without thinking much about the security ramifications, it has really made me think twice about who’s got my information and how I need to be really diligent in changing passwords on a regular basis.

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