Don't Get Hacked! Protect Your Sensitive Photos By Securing Your iCloud Account
Given the recent breaches of privacy and distribution of sensitive materials among Hollywood's biggest starlets, it's only natural to wonder if your iCloud account is safe from the same type of attacks celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton fell victim to. The truth is, you may never definitely be "safe" from these types of hacks, but there are steps you can take to secure your own personal iCloud account. If you've never even given the service a second thought, now might be a better time than ever to examine your iCloud account (and other online storage venues) to make sure you're doing what you can to protect yourself.
1. Stay informed.
So what happened to Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the victims whose private photos were scattered across the internet? The exact cause has yet to be determined, but there appears to have been a security flaw in the Find My iPhone application, which allowed hackers to continue using password after password in order to access the celebrities' iCloud accounts.
Of course, whether there was an exploit used or not, the accounts were compromised using passwords that weren't as strong as they could be. If an attacker already knows the email address you signed up for your Apple ID with, he or she must simply guess your password in order to access all of your important files. With that said, it's important to keep abreast of security breaches like these and ensure you're doing what you can to keep your files safe -- you never know who's going to be next on the list of targets.
2. Use secure passwords and change them regularly.
A safe password isn't the name of your dog or your favorite movie. And it certainly isn't your name. The safest passwords need to be a strong mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols -- and you can even use generators to create them for you. If you don't think you can remember these passwords, use programs like LastPass to keep them all encrypted and organized, or use passwords that you can remember using mnemonic phrases.
3. Two-stepping isn't just a dance.
Two-step authentication could mean the difference between your data being released into the wild and remaining safe and secure on your phone and with you and those you trust. Two-step authentication usually prompts you to input a code sent via email or text message, sometimes even a phone call, even when you log in with the correct password. If you don't have the code, you don't get access, even to change your password. What's more, the account holder in question will be notified that someone is attempting to gain access to the information either way, so they can take the appropriate actions to stop any breaches that may occur. You can turn it on with iCloud as well. Simply log into your Apple ID, select "Manage your Apple ID and sign in," choose "Password and Security," and follow the instructions under "Two-Step Verification."
4. Be careful about what information you put on your smartphone.
Though you may take all the precautions you possibly can to keep your phone private, take care as to what kind of content you keep on there. Photos, text messages, and other private information can all be accessed -- so while you can use your device however you see fit, it's also a good idea to send and view the content that you wish to, but be mindful of keeping it on an easily-accessible device.