Even with the knowledge that images can live on forever to haunt you, people continue to snap self-portraits in compromising positions (it’s your prerogative). Heck, before smart phones came along, people were using Polaroids to capture the moment. And, if history teaches us anything, people will continue the trend—instead of a smart phone, it’ll be a holodeck (a la Star Trek). Ugh, can you imagine that?
The recent high-profile hack of nude celebrity photos came from private phones. They weren’t posted to Facebook or Instagram. These celebrities didn’t hashtag.
#birthdaysuit #emperorsnewclothes #whoneedsdesignerthreads #shegotitfromhermama
Their sensitive data was compromised.
After speculation the hack stemmed from an iCloud® security vulnerability, Apple released a statement saying, “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.” The cloud platform was secure. The users’ security credentials weren’t.
These were private photos intended for private use, so how did they get out there? How can you protect your data; your images; your privacy?
You’ve heard it once; twice; probably every time you create a new account online (and in this day in age, we all have dozens of user accounts online):
- Use a strong password. This SoftLayer Blog is an oldie but a goodie where the author gives the top three ways to make a password: 1) use a random generator like random.org; 2) use numbers in place of letters—for example, “minivan” becomes “m1n1v4n”; 3) write your passwords down in plain sight using “Hippocampy Encryption” (named in honor of the part of the brain that does memory type activities). Or take the XKCD approach to password security.
- And for heaven’s sake, don’t use the same password for every account. If you duplicate usernames and passwords across sites, a hacker just needs to access one account, and he or she will be able to get into all of your accounts!
- Craft little-known answers to security questions. Don’t post a childhood photo of you and your dog on Facebook with the description, “Max, the best pup ever” and then use Max as a security validation answer for “What’s the name of your favorite pet?” It’s like you’re giving the hackers the biggest hint ever.
- If available, use a two-factor authentication security enhancement. The government (FISMA), banks (PCI) and the healthcare industry are huge proponents of two-factor authentication—a security measure that requires two different kinds of evidence to prove that you are who you say you are and that you should have access to what you're trying to access. Read our blog or KnowledgeLayer Article for more details.
- Remember passwords are like underwear—don’t share them with friends and change them often. When it comes to passwords, at least once a year should suffice. For underwear, we recommend changing more regularly.
We won’t tell you what to do with your sensitive selfies. But do yourself a favor, and be smart about protecting them.