Apple has some ‘splaining to do! The tech company is in hot water after photos said to have been taken from the iCloud accounts of celebrities such as actress Jennifer Lawrence, singers Rihanna and Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian, among others, surfaced on Sunday morning.
The Cupertino, California-based company said Monday it is “actively investigating” the incident to see whether or not a security hole at its iCloud service was responsible for the leaking of a number of private images. “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told tech site Recode.
The photos (some real, others fake) were posted to web image-sharing community 4chan and have since traveled across the Web, appearing on social media sites like Reddit and Twitter, as well as others.
Although Apple hasn’t confirmed how the attacks were executed, researchers at security firm FireEye believe it was a “straightforward attack that could’ve been thwarted.” A reported flaw in the “Find My iPhone” feature, allowing multiple, vigorous attempts to guess an account’s password could be to blame. Code-hosting site Github has noted that Apple repaired the vulnerability. Two-factor authentication/two-step verification is the additional step that, when enabled, can prevent such an attack.
Even the FBI has gotten involved, saying that it too is “addressing the matter.” In a previous incident, when the FBI got involved with a celebrity hacking, Christopher Chaney was prosecuted and sentenced to a decade in jail.
Two-factor authentication requires users to enter a numerical code that is sent to their phone or another device, in addition to using their regular password, suggests Recode. Since the number constantly changes, it makes it increasingly difficult for attackers to get access to the account, even if they know the password.
Unique passwords, locks and passwords on all your devices, as well as constantly updating your software can also keep your computer and mobile devices safe from attack.
Are you concerned with the recent iCloud glitch? How do you protect your smartphone and/or computer? Let us know in the comments section.
Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.