If you’re a celebrity watcher, chances are that you already know that some evil hackers have made it possible to get quite an eyeful of your favorite stars. The supposedly secure iCloud has been broken into. Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Mary Winstead and other top celebrities are feeling very exposed, as their most personal pictures have been stolen and put up for sale.
The FBI and Apple are looking into exactly how the photos were taken from the iCloud platform. Until they have answers, we have to ask, “What about the rest of us?”
It’s not sexy pictures that have us nervous – yes, we’re an irresistible bunch here at Technology Therapy Group, but we just don’t have the ardent fan base of Jennifer Lawrence! – but the prospect of other, potentially more valuable, information being vulnerable. Exactly what is in the iCloud?
The first thing to know is that iCloud is not *the* cloud. If you’re not an iPhone user, everything I’m about to tell you isn’t really relevant to you.
The iCloud’s main purpose is to facilitate syncing. When you download an app, take a picture, or purchase an ebook, the fact that you can access all of these files on all of your devices is only possible due to the iCloud. The actual app, picture, or other file is not stored in the iCloud: they actually ‘live’ on the device you downloaded it onto originally.
The iCloud also backs up your phone’s operating system – not something we often think about, but it can be a lifesaver if your phone has a really bad day. Generally, backing up your OS takes a very minimal amount of the iCloud storage space you get with your phone; this leaves you free to put other files you’d like to be able to access in there.
This is a time to be mindful.
If you don’t know what files you have currently stored in iCloud, go look now. Do those files really need to be there, or is there a better place for them?
We all develop bad habits with technology: one of those is the tendency to store files in the location that seems most convenient at the time. Having to log onto a website, perhaps entering multiple passwords along the way, does in fact slow us down. It can also keep our most sensitive data, such as banking and medical information, private. The need for security trumps the need for speed.
We’re not calling for anyone to abandon iCloud. Instead, take the time to understand what the iCloud does and be strategic about what you decide to store there. No platform is completely, 100% secure. All we can do is minimize our risk of data loss by being careful about where we store our most sensitive information.