If you have been active on the internet, you would have received the news about the leaking of nude pics of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, and Arianna Grande. These “posts” were made on 4chan, a site that is more or less like a forum and it allows people to post anonymously. Apparently, the hackers had decided to “expose” these celebs during Labour Day weekend.
Celeb nude photo scandal / leak are not uncommon and people have been doing it for ages by using image editing tools. Photoshop has contributed to the worsening of these problems as the editing is so fine that it becomes difficult to authenticate it. But the main issue at hand now is that despite being in a digitally advanced age with high tech protective measures, “What compromised the security of the online accounts of these celebs?”
Authenticity of Nude Pics
It might come as a shock to some, but a few photos that were released were authentic. The official spokesperson of celebs Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton have confirmed that the nude pics are authentic and they fact that these were posted on the internet, is a direct violation of the privacy rights of their online accounts. Others have denied the authenticity of their nude pics and have clearly stated that they were fake.
How Did the Hackers Get Their Hands on the Photos?
Although there is no concrete evidence, but we have reasons to believe that securities vulnerabilities in Apple’s iCloud service may be the culprit. Hackers are always on the lookout for loopholes or vulnerabilities in security measures, by means of which they would be able to access private and confidential information.
The problem with iCloud is that not many users are able to configure the security and privacy settings correctly. Moreover, they let the world know about this window of opportunity which black hats use to infiltrate into their digital data. Apparently, Jennifer Lawrence had shared this crucial piece of information with the reporters and hackers would have gotten their lead.
Did the Victims Upload Sensitive Photos on the Internet Intentionally?
Apple is to blame for this again. The “My Photo Stream” feature allows pictures taken by the camera on one device, to be shared with all the connected devices. Having gained access to their devices, the hackers could have enabled this on the phone and all of the data could have been shared with them without the victims suspecting it even remotely.
This is one of the reasons why you should never ever activate features without understanding their implications completely. They may appear to offer convenience and you might even be impressed by it, but the harsh reality is that they can be misused for compromising your dignity.
And do not make the mistake of blaming only Apple. The servers of Google are equally compromised and as long as you have your data on these cloud servers without proper security measures in place, you are at a high risk. Never store such data on the cloud and if you have to do so, then do it after consulting an expert and getting your information exchange protocol secured with appropriate privacy and security settings.
How Can You Prevent Such Malicious Attacks?
It is not difficult to prevent malicious hacking attacks on your personal profiles, accounts or devices. You just need to think like one of them and make sure that you keep your guards up at all times. Follow these tips to increase the security of your data. [These tips are only for mobile devices and the information exchange pathway based on cloud servers]
- Never Re-Use Passwords
If you are not good at remembering passwords, then improve your retention capabilities instead of re-using passwords. Using passwords again and again for multiple accounts would put you in a high risk situation. As long as these passwords are for accounts that do not hold personal or sensitive information, you are in safe waters. But if you re-use sensitive passwords, then you are only putting yourself in more danger.
- Don’t be “Honest Abe” While Answering Security Questions
I mean seriously, who expects you to be brutally honest while answering security questions? There is no reason to be honest Abe here. The entire purpose of the Question – Answer pair is to either come up with an extremely difficult question whose answer is known only to you, or you could come up with a completely wacky answer to the question such that the hacker would have a difficult time guessing it.
- Always Enable Dual Verification Methods
The dual verification or 2 step authentication methods are one of the easiest and most effective security measures. This requires you to enter a secret pin or code that is sent to your registered mobile number so that the system can authenticate your access. The code has to be provided after the password has been provided. So unless both of these values are matched by the system with a perfect match being derived in the outcome, the system would not permit entry into the account.
- Lock Your Screen
Do away with the unlocking patterns for your mobile devices. It is easy to figure out your pattern by carefully viewing the screen at the right angle. You should always go for complex codes or phrases that are not easily guessed by others. At the same time, you do not need to make a complex 8-bit code so that it takes forever to unlock the phone. Understand the level of security that is required for the information contained in the device and then decide accordingly.
The Harsh Truth
Even if you follow the tips, you would not be able to guarantee the protection of your sensitive data if it has been shared on the internet. It does not matter whether the data has been posted on your profile or it has been uploaded to the servers, the moment your data leaves the security of your storage device and enters the online domain, you are exposed to high risks of being compromised. So be careful about the things that you share and upload and always make sure you configure your mobile device correctly.
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