Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t been on the internet in the past 24 hours), you most likely know that intimate photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have been exposed (pardon the pun) to the public.
While it is not yet verified, Apple has said it is “actively investigating” the possibility that iCloud accounts have been hacked. The photos surfaced immediately after an Apple “Find My iPhone” exploit was revealed, so Apple’s own security is being questioned. As of now, Apple is saying that iCloud has not been systematically hacked, but that the breach of celebrity photos was a limited, targeted attack. Whether or not iCloud was exploited in any way for these pointed attacks hasn’t been determined.
The sad truth is that this most likely boils down to user error (weak passwords by celebrities) rather than a sophisticated hacking attempt. A brand new exploit, called “iBrute”, allows hackers to try one common password after another until they find one that works and then they can access the iCloud account if they know the email address for the Apple ID (which is probably your regular address).
This is but the tip of the iceberg of cloud-based security hacks. So, to keep yourself safe on iCloud, change your password and turn on 2-step verification:
- Login to My Apple ID.
- Click “Manage your Apple ID” and sign in
- Select “Password and Security” and answer your security questions (if requested)
- For starters, reset your Apple ID password and make it a long, strong, alpha-numeric phrase like Th3 h!ll$ @r3 @l!v3 (The hills are alive)
- Under “Two-Step Verification,” click “Get Started,” and follow the instructions. Two-step verification does take an extra step to login to your account, but it also gives you a layer of security that makes it exceptionally difficult to hack.
John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.