What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas. But you may have recently learned that what’s in the cloud doesn’t always stay in the cloud… just ask Jennifer Lawrence and as many as 100 other celebrities who’ve gotten some major digital exposure in the past few days. “The Great Naked Celebrity Photo Leak of 2014” has gone viral (no) thanks to a hacker who hit the jackpot and exposed an avalanche of nudie celebrity photos on 4chan by breaching Apple’s iCloud service to gain access to the photos. Does that make you nervous for your own pics and info? Don’t worry — we have the scoop on how to stay protected.
The Internet may seem like a black hole of easy-to-tuck-away private info, but all of that data has to be stored somewhere, which means you run the risk of it all being compromised. We live in the digital age and cloud storage is an amazing thing BUT it’s not a flawless system. It’s time to start taking your digital privacy more seriously. To get you up to speed on minimizing your risk and keeping your photos and other sensitive data safer, we have six ways to score added privacy in the cloud.
1. Protect Your iOS Device: You lock your front door, right? Well, don’t get lazy with your mobile device. Use a passcode. Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode, and since that is unique to you = hack proof! When it comes to protecting ALL of your passwords, grab a pen and paper and jot down these tips and tricks: Use a complex password (combination of letters and numbers, upper and lower case and symbols), do not share it with anyone, use a private email if at all possible for your ID, don’t click on links in emails, don’t share personal information over social networks and use completely incorrect or random answers to password reset questions. Got all that? (via Apple)
2. Two-Step Authentication: For an added layer of security, two-factor authentication is a simple feature that asks for more than just your password. It requires both something you know (like a password) and something you have (like your phone). After you enter your password, you’ll get a second code sent to your phone. Only after you enter the code will you get into your account. Check out this link that includes every place (iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, PayPal…) that you should have two-step authentication and the instruction on how to enable it. (via Lifehacker)
3. Disable My Photo Stream: Photo Stream automatically uploads your latest 1,000 photos to iCloud and shares them across all your iOS devices and with specified friends and family. If you prefer not to automatically store your photos in iCloud, you have to disable the feature. To disable Photo Stream, go to System Preferences > iCloud, sign into iCloud, access Account Details and turn off any options you don’t want synced to the cloud. You will need to modify the settings on each of your iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. (via Apple)
4. Delete from iCloud, Not Just on Your Device: You may have deleted those pics from your phone, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist anymore. Just ask actress, Mary E. Winstead, whose photos were stolen in this nudie pic scandal. She confirmed via Twitter that she deleted those photos long ago. To make sure your pics don’t live on post-delete, keep iCloud turned off on your iOS device and your computer to ensure that photos stay right where you want them to. To turn off iCloud on an iOS device, users must access Settings > iCloud and turn off any option that should not sync to the cloud. Turning off iCloud on a Mac, open iCloud preferences, then select or deselect each feature. On a Windows computer, open the iCloud Control Panel, then select or deselect each feature. Click Apply. Can’t keep up with what is syncing to where? Simply delete iCloud. (via Apple )
5. Turn Off “Find My iPhone”: The iCloud breaching is theorized to have happened within the Find My iPhone feature. To keep your privacy truly private, it might be a good option to turn the feature off. To turn off Find My iPhone, users must access Settings > iCloud, then select turn off Find My iPhone. On a Mac, users must access Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud, then deselect Find My Mac. It might be a good idea to check out this article on Understanding How Apps Interact With iCloud for added security. (via PopSugar)
6. Encrypt Data: Encryption is the process of making your files unreadable with an encryption key or pass phrase, so if somebody gains access to your files, they won’t be able to read them without the encryption key. You don’t need to understand encryption, just know this: It works. To ensure that you’re the only person with access to your data, either opt for a cloud storage service with built-in encryption like SpiderOak or use a service that encrypts files or folders for you, like BoxCryptor. Either way, your photos are under lock and key. (via How Stuff Works)
Bottom line, be careful what you share and even more so about what you think is for your eyes only. Safeguard yourself with these tips and share any cloud tricks you have for us in the comments below!