iCloud Celebrity Photo Scandal – How to Retain Your Privacy

On Sunday night, over 100 celebrities had their personal photographs stolen from iCloud, and posted onto 4chan – a popular internet sharing site. Celebrities included Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton.

iCloud is one of the best places to back-up personal data, but it is open to hacking. Hackers took advantage of a security flaw in the iCloud “Find My iPhone” app. Apple has now fixed the issue, but due to the fact Apple did not lock out users after several wrong password attempts, hackers were reportedly using computer programs to generate and test thousands of potential passwords until the account was breached.

“After more than 40 hours of investigation, 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. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone.”Apple Press release

Once they had the “Find My iPhone” password, they could simply check if it was the same for iCloud. If the details aren’t too difficult, hackers can guess passwords, or access information from public wifi network scams, there are lots of ways people can access your personal information. Just yesterday we posted on our Facebook page how to avoid getting your PIN stolen by infrared technology (now super easily available).

Jennifer Lawrence - iCloud Celebrity Photo Scandal - How to Retain Your Privacy

A lot of shared devices (such as family iCloud accounts) have problems with texts being shared across different devices, and photographs you might not want the whole family to see being synced to iCloud. The best way around this is to first know what is being synced to iCloud – if you have a personal account, great. We’d still recommend saving personal photo’s to iCloud. Just keep on top of your security.

If you take a lot of pictures that are considered high risk, and you’d rather not back up the rest, then you can turn off photo syncing by going to Settings>iCloud>Photos and simply turn off photo syncing. But better than this would be to use long, difficult to guess passwords.

How To Better Protect Your Privacy

  • Use different versions of these across all your accounts so that your whole virtual security isn’t hacked if one of them is guessed.
  • Activate two-step authentication
  • Make sure your phone or device has a PIN code
  • Set Auto-lock to the shortest time-out

For more information on how to do these, you might want to read our article “Top 5 Most Important iPhone Security Tips”


September 3, 2014