If you’ve paid any attention to the news this past week, you’d have heard that dozens of celebrities’ iCloud accounts were hacked into. Hundreds of personal photos were then shared over the internet to a swarm of viewers, in a clear violation of privacy. You may be wondering how this could have happened. Well, unfortunately, fairly easily.
While Apple has concluded that there was no security breach of their data servers, it looks as though accounts were hacked into through fairly common methods of guessing passwords and security questions, as well as phishing. Phishing, a common practice among hackers, is the garnering (or attempted garnering) of sensitive information by pretending to be a trustworthyy source. We have discussed this practice briefly in previous blogs, but it’s very important to Nerd Crossing that our customers understand not to give out passwords, personal information or financial information to random inquirers. Even if the parties claim to be from a legitimate business, do not trust phone calls, emails or text messages asking for this information.
In a few weeks, Apple will be implementing higher security so that you will receive notifications if anyone is trying to backup or download your data on another device. But what can you do to protect yourself (and your personal photos and documents) until then? And did you know that this can affect Android users as well?
If you use an iPhone, you can disable your Photo Stream in Settings so that your photos don’t automatically get loaded into your iCloud. You can also delete previously uploaded photos by going to My Photo Stream, selecting the individual photos, and then deleting them. You may also want to implement the Two-Step Verifiation under Apple ID’s Password & Security too.
For Android Users, check your Auto Backup settings under your Google+ app settings. Many Android users do not know that their photos are automatically added to a private Google+ album. Switch your Auto Backup to Off, then go through your private Google+ album and delete any photos you don’t want hackers to be able to access.
Please note that these celebrities were targeted because they are just that–famous people in the public eye. However, this vulgar breach of privacy has sparked conversations about how as technologically advanced as the cloud can be, anything can be broken into. And it’s best that we keep ourselves safe.
If you have any questions about how to disable your photo streams, iCloud, protecting yourself from hackers, or anything about technology or computers, please do not hesitate to contact Nerd Crossing. We are here and happy to help!