Celebgate

Thursday, 2 October 2014 11:02
claidheamhmor: (UnderworldEvolution)
[personal profile] claidheamhmor
My insurance broker popped round last night bearing pizza, and we had a good chat. Something we talked about was Celebgate, with all the leaked nude celebrity selfies. He was saying that people shouldn't be taking nude pictures of themselves, because there's that chance the pics will be leaked.

I'm of a different opinion. If people want to take selfies, that's up to them. If they want to store them on the cloud, fine. Obviously, take a few basic precautions - choose a secure location, enable the phone password, etc.

But there's more to the whole Celebgate leak than just pictures:
  • Apple let those celebrities down, by having an insecure "feature" on iCloud that let hackers repeatedly enter password attempts without blocking access.
  • Many of those celebs, I'll bet, had no idea their phones were being automatically backed up to iCloud.
  • All the focus has been on the nude pictures. That's only part of the story, because what the hackers got were complete iPhone backups. Not just pictures, but email, text messages, contacts, calendar, notes, documents, and more. In other words, if those users had a copy of their bank statement in their email, or any unencrypted passwords typed in, or any personal information, or email addresses or phone numbers of family, friends, or other celebrities, or personal calendar entries, or home addresses... that information has been hacked, and someone has it. That could be a lot scarier than pictures.
To say people shouldn't take nude pics implies that they also shouldn't have any other personal information on their phones (or email, or websites, for that matter). It's possible to live like that, but if you do, why bother having a smartphone? Just get a cheap Nokia.

Personally, I think there's a balancing act between the risk of such information being on your phone, and the convenience and utility of doing so. My opinion: go for it, but take precautions. Use a phone password. Use encrypted password storage apps (like LastPass, Password Keeper, et al). Use secure cloud storage (I use OneDrive and Box). And if your information is more valuable (if you're a celebrity, say), take even better precautions (hey, how about a more secure phone).

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