Since former Gizmodo reporter Mat Honan revealed last week that he was victimized by hackers, many have scrambled to secure their online identities. His Wired report is a must-read as he explains how relatively easy it was for hackers to gain access to his accounts with information that was gleaned from public records and a few phone calls. Listen to this MacWorld podcast featuring an interview with Mat Honan further detailing how his accounts from Amazon to Apple were hacked for a few tips on how you can avoid being victimized.
For a follow-up, see this Wired primer on online security.
As for motivation, Mat wondered if perhaps his tech credentials led him to be high-value target to the hackers. In his communication with the hackers, he asked the same question posed by most all victims of crime: "why me?" The hackers responded:
He said the hack was simply a grab for my three-character Twitter handle. That’s all they wanted. They just wanted to take it, and fuck shit up, and watch it burn. It wasn’t personal.