Celebrity Photo Hacking - How Safe Is The Cloud?

Celebrity Photo Hacking - How Safe Is The Cloud?

Accounts of dozens of celebrities hacked, so how safe is the cloud?
Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and a host of other celebrities  explicit and private photos splashed on the internet.

The hackers claimed to have targeted more than 100 celebrities.

The photos apparently lifted from a cloud based storage service, Apple's iCloud-emerged as a likely target.

Kirsten Dunst tweeting, simply "Thank you iCloud."

Today, Apple acknowledging, "…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…" But the statement also says that the company's actual systems were not breached.

All of this raising concerns about the security of the cloud.

Most of us rely on it. Whether we post photos to Facebook use a service like Dropbox to back up our files or simply have contacts or e-mails stored with Google, Apple or any number of internet based services.

"The cloud like any other piece of technology has positives and negative."

Kevin Mahaffey is the Chief Technology Officer for Lookout Mobile Security, one of the biggest players in protecting cell phone data.

"The positives are if you store your data in the cloud, it's less likely to get lost, so if you lose your phone or your phone breaks or drop in the lake, you usually lose all your data.  And so if the cloud protects you from that, however, it also exposes the data to being breached if you use a bad password or if the cloud service gets hacked."

And sometimes if you delete a photo from a device it may still live on the cloud.

Still, experts say the two main ways to better protect your data are:
  • First, by creating strong and unique passwords,
  • And second enabling 2-step authentication where you have to enter a 4 or 5 digit code usually to sent to your phone via text message.
"Do you have a sense whether this was a professional job or amateur job?"

"My speculation skews more on amateur side.  Professionals tend to go more after critical infrastructure such as oil and gas, nuclear power plants, or other espionage--- whereas amateur hackers might do it for fun to cause chaos on the internet."

As for the stolen photos, the FBI says it's actively investigating the breach.

Some victims, like Jennifer Lawrence, confirmed the photos were real. While others like actress and singer Ariana Grande said they were fake.
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