The celebrity photo hack shook the internet. The hack left us all wondering how such a leak was even possible. Well, now is the time to start thinking if such a hack can happen to you. Around a 100 different female celebrities somehow had their accounts hacked. Their private data was then stolen from their iCloud accounts and rereleased for the world to see.
While there was speculation that it was a security flaw within the Apple framework that led to the hack, Apple has since then rubbished the claims and emphasised that they, along with their services, are not the source of the leak. Previously, a post on GitHub outlining a security gap in Apple’s services was thought to be the culprit. Well it seems like that wasn’t really the case, so we’re back to considering how exactly so many got hacked this easily. And that also brings us to a sobering realization: if they can get hacked, so can you.
The Guessing Game
What if you found out that there’s a possibility that you aren’t all that smart about your passwords and security information? Well if you’re anything like J Law then you probably aren’t particularly smart about it at all. She’s been quoted talking about how she uses her iCloud services, along with the kind of keywords she uses for her password — in all likelihood what that did was make it very easy for hackers to break into her personal data.
Scams, spams and phishing attacks can all pretend to be something and turn out to be something different. Users should try to actively educate themselves on what is what so they can avoid falling prey to them. Additionally, using one password on multiple domains means a heightened risk. If someone is able to crack one relatively unsecure account they can go on and crack several more, despite them being extremely secure.
There’s also the “forgot my password” feature, which lets you recover your account based on private information and security questions. If the hacker is able to find out all there is to know about you (and let’s face it, it isn’t at all hard to do that with the amount of information we put up online) then this would be a walk in the park.
To avoid this, put up two-factor authentication wherever possible. Several tech groups and services are now offering multi-factor authentication options which allow you to actually make your account much harder to crack. This would mean that you would verify your identity in two steps i.e., a hacker wouldn’t just need your password in order to login, they would also need physical access to your phone in order to break through, which is impossible unless the hacker is someone close to you.
Additionally, your security questions need to be much harder to break. A neat little trick is using a codeword/term instead of an actual answer. So when you’re asked what your pet’s name is, you could save the response as something like “The Edge of Tomorrow”. Of course the main caveat here is that you will have to remember your intelligently altered answer.
Also make sure your passwords are harder to crack. For instance, passwords with characters, capital letters and numbers, will be harder to crack. So basically “butterflies” is a whole lot worse than “Butt3Rfli35”.
At the end of the day we all need to remember that the actions of whoever scanned these accounts were criminal. While it may not be the first or last time such a hack has taken place, it is possible to stay relatively safer and keep data out of unwanted hands.