Leaked photos raise questions about iCloud security

By Nataly Capote, COLUMNIST
On September 4, 2014

It’s nothing new: celebrity nudes have been leaked plenty of times before. The recent exposure of actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst, have started a debate over the security of Apple’s iCloud, a service that has over 320 million users. 

Articles around the Internet are blaming the corporation for being untrustworthy; Slate Magazine writer, David Auerbach, claims that Apple is “misrepresenting the security it can offer to its users.” 

Though users are asked to answer a slew of questions if they forget their passwords, in the case of most celebrities, the answers to questions such as “name of first car” are easily accessible online. 

Last Tuesday, Apple released a statement saying that the release of celebrity nude photos has nothing to do with a security breach, but the multinational corporation has several issues that are precisely what users are now questioning. For example, the limitless password attempts available through the “Find My iPhone” service. Still, an article recently published by TheBlaze TV stated Apple wants to emphasize the importance of “stronger passwords.” 

The question now is whether these celebrity victims made things too easy for hackers or if Apple’s security measures are deeply flawed. 

Fueled by the release of these photos, the FBI is taking the theft and distribution of these illegally obtained images more seriously — especially if one is a celebrity. That’s why a Forbes Magazine article written by Joseph Steinberg suggests users who aren’t celebrities need to be “even more careful,” because the privacy of civilians is treated far differently from that of celebrities. 

Solutions to this problem include, for obvious reasons, a stronger password. Apple users should also realize that in today’s world of information, nothing is 100 percent secure or trustworthy through iCloud, or on the Internet for that matter. 

For reference, watch the movie “Sex Tape” featuring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. In the film, a couple accidentally uploads a sex tape to iCloud and can’t remove the video afterward. In the words of Segel’s character: “Nobody understands the cloud! It’s a f--- ing mystery!” 

This illustrates the number of people who don’t know how the Cloud works, but still use it. One could make the argument that, with the increase of technology and online storage availability, there comes an increase in the number of people who blindly trust storage services with sensitive information because everyone else is doing it. 

As the Slate article mentions, “clouds are wispy and ephemeral, the very opposite of secure.” Perhaps it is called “iCloud” for that very reason. 

Nataly Capote is a freshman majoring in mass communications. 

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