Internet security took a hit this week when it was alleged that the iCloud accounts of several famous folks, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Lea Michelle, were compromisedand their most private images leaked onto the wilds of the internet.
The reaction was intense and polarised, with much sympathy for the stars put in such an unfortunate position. The fallout still wages on, the perpetrator seems to currently be on the run from the law, but if you are going to learn one thing from this unfortunate event its this – secure your data properly!
At first, the fault seemed to be linked to the security of iCloud but it has subsequently been revealed that iCloud was not at fault. The hackers accessed the celebrity accounts using targeted attacks on the usernames, passwords and security questions of the celebrity users. None of the cases that Apple have investigated have been linked to a breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone
To that end, we’ve got some important hints and tips for locking down the iCloud and other services.
Put Some Thought Into Your PasswordsThese days we all have a million and one passwords and it can be a chore to remember them all but its worth it. Many people still use iterations as simple as ‘password’ and that leaves them open to programs which try to brute force themselves into your files. Keep a list of your passwords if you need to but try to ensure a mix of lower and upper case and at least one number.
Disable iCloud SharingMost Apple users are automatically syncing their photos to the cloud, and they may not even know it! Typically, the last 30 days (or the last 1000 photos) are constantly being uploaded unless you manually turn it off. To do that, head to Settings – iCloud – Photos and make sure all options are off. Then go into the Photos app, click Shared and delete and photos that remain. You can also stop all photo backups by going to: “Settings – iCloud – Storage & Backup – manage storage – This iPhone – turn off Camera Roll.
Back Up Your Photos LocallyPortable hard drives are cheaper than ever before, putting terabytes of storage in your hands. Consider backing up your photos securely to your own hard drive rather than any online syncing. Without an internet connection and safe in your home, there’s no way to keep your data more secure.
Enable Two Step VerificationThis handy Apple feature sends you a code any time your account is accessed. You’ll need this code as well as your current password to make any changes to your account which adds an extra layer of security and also lets you know if anyone is trying to tamper with your data. To turn on two step verification go to appleid.apple.com and click Manage AppleID – Password & Security – Get started under the 2-step verification settings. Click “Continue” through the next few pages, it will then tell you to come back in 3 days to complete this process, again another security feature.
With these tips you should be able to protect against most potential online hacks and keep your personal life as private as it should be.
In Short: With recent breaches of Apple’s iCloud service making the news, now is the perfect time to take another look at your internet security