For anyone whose digital life needs some extra space, the cloud seems like a miraculous solution.But after dozens of purported nude and risque photos of celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrenceand Kate Upton, leaked online late Sunday, reportedly hacked from their personal cloud accounts, users might be concerned about their own cyber safety.
Is nothing sacred? I mean what is this world coming to when a celebrity can't take naked pics in private anymore? Dogs and cats, living together...mass hysteria!"A lot of people don't understand how far their information is spreading," Clifford Neuman, the director of the USC Center for Computer System Security, told ABC News. "There's a lot more stuff that gets sucked into these sites than one would understand."Many people use the cloud and don't even know it -- Google Drive and Dropbox are common examples.Experts say that, to be safe, it's important to remember how the cloud works and that when you sync a device like your smartphone to the cloud, it creates two copies of files.At least one of the hacked stars, Mary E. Winstead, said she deleted the leaked photos "long ago."However, if you delete something from a device like a tablet or smartphone, it doesn't necessarily delete from the cloud, Neuman pointed out."You still have to go into the cloud account and delete it, in many cases," he said.Another problem is passwords. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, as many people do, you're at greater risk. If one of your digital accounts is hacked and you're using the same password for your cloud account, hackers can also gain access to what's on your cloud."You should be using a different password for your cloud account than you do for other accounts," Neuman said.People should also know that they can unlink their devices from the cloud."The downside, of course, is that if you lose your phone you lose everything that's on it, like photos," Neuman said.Beyond the cloud, people should also be more careful about how they use WiFi networks, both when they're out and about and at home. Not taking precautions could make it all too easy for criminals to access private information.Security expert Chester Wisniewski said that almost a quarter of wireless networks have weak or no protection, which could leave emails, financial accounts and anything else you do on line exposed. - ABC News
But seriously, do we have any reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to the internet? I'm pretty much of the philosophy these days that anything I send over the airwaves can be intercepted by the Edward Snowdens of the world. So this kind of story really doesn't surprise me anymore. In fact, if someone invented a 100% secure Internet communication that actually would surprise me. But that's not going to happen anytime soon.
Some commentators are blaming the celebrities for posting nude pics of themselves to the cloud in the first place because, as the argument goes, they should have known better. Others take the position that something uploaded to a secure data backup server (ie., the cloud), which is not being sent to anyone should be secure.
So how about it? What say you?