Thursday, September 4, 2014

Celebrity Hacking Observations

Over the past weekend, it turns out a hacker was able to get into a private cloud run by Apple and download a bunch of private celebrity pictures.  A bunch of these pictures turned out to be pornographic in nature as it featured nude pics of some popular actresses.

So now we have a situation where the hacker is on the run and held in low regard by the country, especially the news media.  And he probably should be.  He’s not a hero, just a guy who exposed just how much lack of privacy there really is out there.

The truth is, if you send anything over the Internet, it is no longer private.  This means that unless the pictures are taken and stored locally, you should not be surprised when they end up on the Internet somewhere other than where you left it.  This includes pictures taken from your phone, even if you haven’t explicitly shared them with anyone.

This is because anything that is constantly hooked up to the Internet that isn’t a PC will send files on the Internet, regardless of what you do.  Online backup software is the most common way a PC will send files over the Internet, by the way.

Nothing that is stored off-site is secure from hackers.  That is the ultimate lesson here.  So when you are taking pictures on your phone and having it backed up online, always make sure that it is something you don’t care about getting leaked and exposed online, especially if you are a celebrity.

The more critical thing that should be noted is that these are the same services that also want to store your credit card information on “secure” servers, which probably use the same technology used to store these pictures.

Nude pictures are one thing, but tons of credit card information are an entirely different matter.  Nobody cares about some nobody’s nude pictures, which are probably much uglier than he or she may believe, but credit card data is gold in the criminal underground.

So don’t store anything you want to keep private on any service anywhere.  Keep it stored and backed up locally if you have to use a digital copy.  Otherwise it is all right to keep your credit card information stored on your credit card and no where else.

And let’s keep in mind that the NSA has everything you post online, even if it supposed to be private.  And who wants those Star Trek nerds looking at your nude pictures?  But I’m sure they’re professional about it, even though there are no repercussions for top-level officials who masturbate eight hours a day.

I don’t plan on hunting down these images, although I am tempted to do so.  They do intrigue me, but these were meant for a private audience and I’ll respect their wishes.  In any case, I would hope that most people would learn from this and better monitor their online usage, especially if they don’t want something made public down the road.