Did They Just Happen to Get A Bad Apple Or Do We Need to Pay Closer Attention?

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Oops! It happened again! Big shocker, another security breach hits the news but this one is just a little bit more scandalous. Hearing about leaked celebrity nude photos isn’t something out of the norm, but this time we’re hearing about claims involving Apple and iCloud. Apple has just released a statement, saying, “We are outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers.” Apple claims that the massive celebrity nude photo hack didn’t involve a breach into their system but it seems iCloud isn’t in the clear. It appears Apple customers may have had their usernames, passwords and security questions compromised.  

Earlier this week, the company said that after a 40-hour investigation, it was determined that there was no breach of its data servers. The company has said it discovered a number of celebrity accounts were compromised by targeted attacks, using methods like phishing or correctly answering security questions to obtain their passwords.

In a statement, Apple announced it “would strengthen its security measures..and add alerts to tell people about activities that could be signs of a break-in.”

“Customers will receive emails and alerts called push notifications, which are messages that show up prominently on iPhones and iPads, when someone tries to change the password for their iCloud account, upload their backed-up account data to a new device or log into their accounts for the first time from an unknown device, the company said. The notifications will be added in two weeks.”

Apple is continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals in the celebrity photo hack.

apple 1This isn’t exactly great timing for Apple, considering they are today announcing their mobile payments service, which is connected to iCloud, and that the company has worked tirelessly to ensure that customers are comfortable with using iCloud.

We’ve heard a lot of news about “the cloud” so what is it? It’s simply software and services run on the Internet rather than your computer. There are a lot of apps and PC software stored in the cloud as well as an abundant amount of personal information that you yourself didn’t create.  For instance, healthcare providers put medical information there as well as friends posting Facebook photos of you.

Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and more are turning to the Cloud to store data. These server farms are so massive they are responsible for 2 percent of our country’s electricity usage according to Villanova University. According to CNN Money, there are 320 million iCloud users, and Facebook users who have uploaded 400 billion photos.

After hearing about the Apple hack I began to think about my own usage. I remember over the weekend receiving numerous duplicate emails about my Apple account. The emails requested that I respond with my current username and password. That alone was a big red flag. When it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, well…. You get the picture.

We’re all bombarded with the ease of technology. We use email for everything. We pay our bills online; communicate through text, upload photos to just about everything and we love our phone apps. And hackers love us for it.apple 2

Just yesterday I stumbled across an interesting YouTube video regarding Facebook Messenger that alerted me to the fact that this particular app has unbelievable access to data on my phone. It has users totally enraged. Facebook isnow  trying to downplay the rumors by going on the offensive. 

I went to the applications manager of my own smart phone settings and when I pulled up Facebook Messenger here’s what I found I’m may permit:

  • Directly call phone numbers which could cost me money
  • Edit my text messages (SMS or MMS) which could cost me money
  • Receive text messages (SMS) which could cost me money
  • Send SMS messages which could cost me money
  • Take pictures and video
  • Record audio
  • Read my call log
  • Read my contacts
  • Read my own contact card
  • Modify or delete the contents of my USB storage
  • Read the content of my USB storage
  • Find accounts on my device

According to Facebook, I have absolutely nothing to worry about. Sorry Facebook but I have my doubts. Considering all the hacking going on and privacy being an issue, I think I’m going to continue to be paranoid, upgrade my security protection and do a better job screening my apps. They aren’t calling it “The Year of the Hack” for nothing. The flip phone is starting to look more and more appealing again.

To protect against future attacks, Apple advises all users to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification. Both are addressed on their website.

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