How easy it is to succumb to paranoia. On my return from lunch today, I found an alert on my phone and then my computer telling me that my Apple ID had been locked for security reasons. Apple says: “If you or someone else enters your password, security questions, or other account information incorrectly too many times, your Apple ID automatically locks to protect your security”.

As I knew that I hadn’t attempted to login while out a lunch, I automatically jumped to the conclusion that somebody else had attempted to instead. Yes, I thought, somebody was trying to access my account and all of my data.

All of a sudden I was suspicious, for two days short of a year ago, my website was brought down by hackers. As I work in the website business — well aware of the daily onslaught of the armies of hackers and spammers at home and abroad that fight constantly to take over vulnerable websites — I knew better than to take it personally. Though I had just posted an article that could perhaps have made me vulnerable to disgruntled critics, from a statistical perspective it was much more likely to have been pure bad luck than a targeted attack. Even so, having had to deal with mujahideen hackers defacing other websites I manage with political statements in the past, I was open to the possibility that this assault on my website was similarly the work of vigilantes defending the honour of their hero. Nevertheless, in the end I decided that this was paranoia and the timing of the cyber attack purely a coincidence.

And so it seems with this one. It turns out that Apple devices seem to be suffering from a software bug at the moment, which is locking out users all over the place. So no, it’s nothing sinister: no malevolent assault by keyboard warriors bearing a grudge, as they take issue with something I have written. No, that is nothing but pure supposition, compounded by an unhealthy dose of paranoia.

How much simpler all of our lives could be, if only we could do the minimum research and probe beyond our feelings and emotions. A little critical thinking goes a long way towards overcoming the paranoid sense of victimisation that consumes so many of us. Watch as a thousand conspiracies fall when we allow ourselves to be confronted by the facts.

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