Celebrity accounts getting hacked is nothing new. Three more well-known actresses’ have had their private and/or intimate photos and videos distributed in the public domain as recently as last week.
Emma Watson, Mischa Barton and Amanda Seyfried woke up to the news of their images and videos doing rounds of the Net. If you are looking for details of this sordid incident, well then we suggest you stop reading any further. No, seriously!
Quite simply, it is in bad taste. How would you feel if your private moments were all over the place? Instead, what we intend to do is to tell you avoid such an occurrence. It’s not just celebs who are hounded by such cybercrimes. It’s a reality of our everyday digital existence.
Most of the times, photos and/or videos are stolen from iCloud account or private albums. Instead of backing up your photos (and videos) on iCloud, you can try using Keep Your Photo Safe Vault. This app keeps your photos and videos on iPhone or any other iOS device safe. Transfer your photos to the app from your phone/device and then secure them with a secret pin. You can also add individual passwords to different albums to make them inaccessible without your permission. When you import your personal images, you will also be prompted to delete them from the original location for extra protection.
Harry Potter star Emma Watson’s ‘costume fitting’ images were stolen from iCloud. A couple of years back, nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence (of X-Men fame), and Selena Gomez (High School Musical) – along with a string of other female celebrities – were distributed all over the Net. All these actresses were a victim of mass iCloud hacking by a man named Edward Majerczyk from Illinois, USA. Majerczyk was arrested in connection with the thefts in late February this year and sentenced to 9 months in jail.
That is some solace but surely not nearly enough! Here’s a lowdown on what makes the iCloud security weak enough for unlawful access.
A lot of websites/services, including iCloud, gives account access if you can answer the ‘security questions’. To get the answers to such questions right, all a hacker (or anybody else) needs to do is do a bit of research on the account holder’s background/bio and make some good guesses!
As far as celebrity accounts are concerned, figuring out answers to ‘security questions’ is not so difficult considering the questions usually concerns birth dates, user Id (in most cases primary email ids), or place of birth. For a seasoned hacker, guessing the answers to such question is no big deal. Even the average person’s basic bio is available on some social media site, often enough. Besides, anyone who knows/has known you, can easily hack into your iCloud account by answering some easy questions.
Another online account that gets a lot of attention from hackers is microblogging site Twitter. In one of the most bizarre hacks till date, somebody gained access to McDonald’s Twitter Handle and used it to post anti-Trump tweets during the same time that Watson’s account was hacked.
The fast food giant issued a statement last Thursday that their account indeed was hacked.
Celebs who have had their accounts hacked include the likes of pop divas Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, Guns n Roses front man Axl Rose, and actor Ashton Kutcher, to name a few. In fact, Kutcher’s hacker was righteous enough to draw attention to the abysmally low awareness regarding online security among people.
You can make your Twitter account considerably safer with a few simple measures.
Trick #1: Oft repeated but hardly given any attention. Coin strong password. Use letters, numerals, symbols. Not for nothing do they suggest you use different ‘characters’.
Trick #2: Twitter has a two-step authentication process. Use that!
Trick #3: Disable location services. Well, the location you are tweeting from is best kept to yourself. Hackers find it easier to fiddle with accounts with location services on.
Trick #4: Sometimes you might receive tweets and direct messages with fishy links. These are phishing attempts. Never click on such links.
Trick #5: Some third-party apps can ask permission to access your Twitter account. One word. Don’t!
Hacking is not just limited to these two services. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s social media accounts including Twitter and Pinterest were hacked last year. While we know that not many of you would use a password like ‘dadada’ (apparently Zuckerberg’s password) for even one – let alone multiple – account(s), it is advisable to take your online security a little more seriously from now on.
If you are looking to secure multiple passwords in one place so you don’t have to remember them all and yet have ready access, try using Advanced Identity Protector. It’s an easy to use app that lets you keep all your sensitive and online account related information away from prying eyes in one place.
Nobody likes getting conned. Hackers are digital conmen. Be careful and use security services intelligently to not be a victim of cybercrimes.