Last week’s sensational news about nude celebrity pics from hacked accounts being published all over the Internet has again and again raised one single question – Are we using today’s gadgets responsibly? I sympathize with all those celebrities and people whose privacy was violated. Such incidents always create doubt in the mind about how safe are the cloud storage facilities on which we are so dependent.
The problem is not these services; these services are well secured and use high level of privacy protection mechanisms and encryption. The problem is with the users’ understanding of the technology and managing the security of their own account.
In response to last week’s celebrity photo hack, Apple issued a media advisory:
“Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone.”
So now who should be blamed for last week’s incident? Yes, of course, hackers are the main culprits and they should be behind bars for this act and no second thoughts on this. At the same time, the damage that is done is irreversible so it is time we take some learning out of this incident and try to understand that all things are not perfect and technology too can have its shortcomings and it is all upon us with regards to how we make use of it.
Today almost every smartphone has two cameras (front and rear) and everybody is moving around with a smartphone in hand. Clicking photos, videos, selfies has become so casual that many times you may be tempted to take photos or videos of something that cannot be shared publicly.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Simple things can save you from being victimized in such an incident and you should always try to follow them, especially if you are famous:
- You need to understand that most of the smartphones and tablets have the facility of configuring free cloud storage accounts and if configured, it may automatically send all the snaps and videos taken using that device as a backup to your cloud storage account. So if you have configured some free cloud storage account on your smart device for backup, better remember this while taking every photo or video using that device.
- The best idea is to not create any digital footprint of private content that must not be shared. If absolutely needed, make sure you know the gadget that you are using for the same through-and-through, and also make sure that it’s not connected to the Internet. A better idea would be to use a digital camera without any cloud connection instead of a smartphone.
- Know what you are clicking, where you are storing and the most important thing is to make sure you secure your devices. While configuring the cloud storage account make sure you create a strong password and have all the security and privacy features enabled. Do not take the security of your cloud storage lightly. This includes your configuration of security questions associated with the account for resetting password and the answers to these questions should not be too obvious for anybody to guess via social engineering.
So be careful when it comes to using these smart devices and my personal advice would be not to create any digital content that must not be shared publicly.
For those iPhone users who simply want to stop sending their photos to iCloud account, just switch off the setting as shown in the below image: