The internet’s buzzing about 4Chan’s promotion of an iCloud hack, resulting in public posting of various pictures of celebs in the nude. Pictures of high-profile celebrities like Ariana Grande, Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence were leaked Sunday after what many call a large-scale hack.
4chan is an imageboard site where users post anonymously. It originated in 2003, focused on pictures and discussion of manga and anime, but soon expanded into several topics.
More than four years ago I wrote about working in the cloud, warning users that certain information should never be stored there. I’d also advised, via various message boards and third-party sites, that while the cloud simplified the process of backing up and accessing data, storing sensitive information online, using it could have major repercussions.
Sunday’s fiasco is just one of thousands of online hacks that has allowed questionable folk to gain access to information account holders thought was either destroyed or secure. From banking information to client data, every day hackers are trying to get what they can.
While their accounts certainly shouldn’t have been hacked (and, yes, I hope the criminals are caught and locked up), why on earth would these women leave doors “unlocked”? It begs many questions, such as:
- Why did they take questionable photos with a digital device that itself can be hacked if it gets in the wrong hands?
- Why did some accept defaults, and allow backup of the camera roll to the cloud?
- Why did some assume that even if they deleted images, they could never be found and/or restored?
- Why did some fail to “clean up” their account in the cloud?
- Why did they assume that Apple, no matter how advanced in technology, was unhackable?
- Why did they leave connections “open”?
Let a big lesson be learned. The cloud is sufficient for maintaining copies of data that will do no damage if it goes public. That’s it. Anything else needs to be secured locally, and not reachable by a simple internet connection from one machine to another. If that means access is delayed until you get back to the office? Well, at least you don’t have to worry about all your competitors knowing everything that’s going on behind the scenes.
Now’s the time to review all account settings, especially for devices used for professional purposes. It’s also time to realize that, yes, anything uploaded to the internet can become “permanent”.
While hacks like this are a violation of one’s privacy, it’s up to us to take the steps to prevent access in the first place.