Local Professor Talks iCloud Risks In Wake Of Nude Celebrity Photos Leak

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s new information about the massive leak of nude celebrity photos. Apple believes the high tech breach happened through low tech methods.

Linh Bui explains.

Apple is defending its iCloud service, saying hackers got the photos the old fashioned way.

Nude pics of celebrities, including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton, were stolen after hackers figured out their passwords.

“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions,” Apple said in a statement.

One possible cause of the breach? Phishing, where users are tricked into giving personal information to what they think is a trusted site.

“They give their user name and password, but what they’re providing it to is not their bank, not iCloud. They’re providing it to the hacker who now has this password that they can use to impersonate the user,” said Clifford Neuman, director of the USC Center for Computer System Security.

Lisa Yeo is assistant professor of information systems at Loyola University Maryland. She talks about the risks of using cloud services.

“You lose some control over when you delete something,” Yeo said. “What really happens to it? Do they still have it on some backup tape on some server or have they completely deleted it for you? So there’s always a little bit of risk involved in putting anything out there.”

She and security experts say the best protection is a good, strong password that you change often.

“Passwords are extremely vulnerable. Once someone gets hold of your password, they’re able to impersonate you anywhere. And the way that you use passwords necessarily requires that you give that password to others,” Neuman said.

There are now companies that let you use your eyes to provide log in information. Both Apple and Samsung phones have fingerprint readers instead of passwords.

Security experts also warn never let nude photos get to the cloud.

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