The flagrant violation of privacy committed by hackers after a purported iCloud leak of private photos belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and others has us all talking – and fretting – about what we'd do if we were in their position.
As the various celebrities whose personal photos have been acquired and released by Internet community 4chan release their own statements, we think it's important to begin by making a few things clear. We'll let the inimitable Lena Dunham take this one.
Got it? Good. Now that it's obvious this can happen to even the most security-minded members of the public, we'd like to suggest some tips for upping the privacy quotient of your data so the same fate doesn't befall your most intimate snapshots.
• Know how iCloud works. We're partial to this Digital Trends guide. And please note that as of the time of the leak, Aple has reportedly patched the bug that allowed hackers access to iCloud in the first place.
• Disable sharing from iCloud. Simply go to settings/iCloud on your phone or system preferences/iCloud on your Mac and turn off anything you don't want shared, including photos, contacts, mail, etc. Just make sure you back up all your data onto your computer or an external hard drive first – turning off your photo stream will delete all automatically stored photos from iCloud.
• Set up separate passwords for separate accounts. All the complicated encryption services in the world are only as strong as your password. We get that it seems impossible to keep a different password in mind for every account you own, but the scary fact is, if one account bearing your email/username and password is hacked, and that same email/username and password is used on your other accounts, hackers can access them all, immediately. Make sure your passwords include numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters – and the longer, the better. And this should go without saying but: don't use any personal information a hacker could be privy to, such as a birthday, last name, etc.
• Enable two-factor authentication (TFA). TFA includes an added step for you (entering both a password and a pin before your data can be accessed by an unknown device), but the benefit is that your stuff is doubly secure. Gizmodo has a helpful guide for setting this up across all your accounts.
• Contact Apple support. Still have questions? Take it to the experts. Either make an appointment at your local Apple store or connect with an expert online.