1 Sep 2014

You don’t have to be a nude celebrity to be caught under a ‘dark cloud’

Quite how dozens of nude celebrity photos ended up online is as yet unknown.

New Apple CEO Tim Cook Introduces iPhone 4s

The fact that some of the images can be traced back to Apple devices has led some to suspect the iCloud, Apple’s online backup service which can be programmed to keep copies of photos and other documents.

But as far as we know it may yet turn out to be a case of weak passwords, social engineering (for example, guessing the answers to security questions thanks to publicly available information, which befell Scarlett Johansson and others), or perhaps wifi interception carried out in the right celeb-heavy California hangouts (as we demonstrated in a somewhat less glamorous location in a Data Baby report).

Whatever the source, it reveals one basic truth: increasingly the devices in our hands are simply a window onto a vast store of data gathered and stored for us on servers all over the world. On the plus side this means we can access our pictures anywhere, any time. The downside (the “dark cloud”, if you like) is that with the right skills others can also access them, as Jennifer Lawrence et al are beginning to discover.

One final thought: it’s not just the stores of data that are vulnerable (“data at rest” as the techies call it). Your information can be accessed as it’s sent from one place to another (as the above Data Baby story illustrates). Until we start making conscious and informed choices about whether and what we store online, we will all be vulnerable – A-list or not.

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