Save Private Photos from Hackers


You might have heard of an incident from 2014 where the nude photos of more than 100 celebrities and public figures have leaked and were posted online by hackers who has either hacked Apple’s iCloud or managed to guess all of their security questions and managed to access their accounts.

This incident has got a lot of people worried about their own safety and privacy, and since no one wants all of their photos out there, whether they’re nude or not, many have started wondering is there a way to make them even more secured. Fortunately, there are several ways to do that, and we’ve decided to deliver you a few tips on how to enhance your security.

Turn off your phone’s automatic cloud backups

The photos you take with your iPhone aren’t only stored on the device, but also on the iCloud as well. This is a feature that comes automatically enabled and Apple’s exact words concerning the service were that it’s “built with industry-standard security practices and employs strict policies to protect your data.” Still, it’s not impossible that the pictures of 100 celebrities were obtained through a flaw in the system, and it’d probably be best to turn off the backup uploads.

This can be done by accessing Settings on your device. Proceed to iCloud and find the option Photos. All you need to do is slide the bar and the uploads will be stopped. And for those of you who’d wish to disable the entire iCloud, you can find the ‘delete account’ option on the bottom of that same menu.

For those of you who use Android smartphones, the backup process is pretty much the same, and your photos are being uploaded to Google Plus Cloud Service. The difference is that the uploading won’t be set on when you first set up your account, but if you’ve allowed the automatic storage linked to that account on any of your other devices, this option will be remembered and set on all the others as well. This too can be disabled by accessing Photos app, going to General Settings and disabling Auto-Backup.

Make strong passwords

We can’t stress enough the importance of strong passwords when it comes to your online accounts. Many of the breaches made in the past, including, possibly, the one that robbed celebrities of their photos, have been successful because of weak passwords.

Your password will only be considered strong if it contains letters, symbols, and numbers. One word that has importance for you is an extremely bad option, even if you’ve added a couple of numbers at the end of it. Dates of birth and anniversaries are equally bad. However, passphrases of four or more random words with no connection to each other and no sense when organized in a sentence is a pretty good option. Or, you could think of a sentence that you’re likely to remember, and then use the first letter of every word to create your random password.

Your last good option is to use a password manager since they’re pretty good at protecting your passwords and even generating new ones if there’s need for that. You’ll still need a master password for the manager itself, though, but this is the best option if you have lots of accounts and can’t remember all of your different passwords. And yes, they should be different.

Try “zero knowledge” cloud services

Those who are worried about the cloud storage services’ security should consider using cloud services that encrypt your data. This is known as the “zero knowledge” solution, and some of the services that use it are called Tresorit, Spider Oak, Wuala, and others. The best thing about this is that the encryption happens on your own device, so not even the workers at the company don’t know what’s stored on the cloud.

You should still be cautious, since this system also has its flaws, and it’s suggested by multiple sources that it would be better for users to share files via the desktop app, and not through these web portals.

Encrypt your data

Data encryption is another great idea, you do it yourself and on your own hard drive, and it’s a great option if you’re afraid of your device being stolen. Microsoft has even provided Bitlocker as a built-in solution, while Mac provides FileVault for this very purpose.

There are other encryption mechanisms, and as long as you can encrypt your files successfully, it’s your choice which one you’ll use. Upon encryption, you can safely store it on your USB drive and carry it with you if needed. In this case, we recommend the use of a VPN provider called TorGuard, which is one of the best ones available, as the experts claim.

Consider using VPNs

The use of VPNs is one of the safest ways to browse the internet since every piece of your data will be completely encrypted and no one will be able to access it, whether they want to steal it or view it. A safe tunnel is created that connects your device and the web, and all of the data will be sent through it. This is great when it comes to file sharing, and serves as another layer of protection that you can use to keep your privacy protected.

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Protect your photos on Facebook

When it comes to pictures on Facebook, we believe that you’re aware that sensitive content really isn’t supposed to be uploaded, ever. Still, if you don’t want to share the majority of your pictures with those who aren’t supposed to see them, consider setting your privacy options to ‘Friends Only’. This can be done in Facebook Settings, just find the option called ‘Who can see my stuff?’

Settings can always be modified and customized every time you decide to upload something new, all you have to do is click on the ‘Update Status’ window and decide who can see your post.

Private messaging applications could also be a good idea

If you wish to send your pictures to your friends and family and want a safe app that can do just that, there are some that are made for that very purpose. Snapchat is one of them, but there are also Gryphn and Cyber Dust. They’ll encrypt your messages, offer self-destruct option for the content you’re sending, and they can even disable the screen capturing feature on the receiver’s device, so that your photo will be sent, received, seen and deleted if you so desire.

Share pictures directly

One of the safest ways of sharing your photos is literally from hand to hand. You can safely store them on your USB, and just give them to whoever you want. Sure, it’s not the quickest and most practical way of sharing, but at least no one can steal them and hack a USB stick, at least not until you insert it into the computer.

The problem with the internet is that anything is possible and that there’s now ultimate security. Hackers have proved that multiple times, by hacking the unhackable and leaking all kinds of secrets. All you can do is try your best to upgrade your security on regular basis and find as many different ways of enhancing it as you can. If you really care about something remaining a secret, you should never post it online. That’s the way to be sure that it will never end up in someone else’s hands without your approval.

Ali is a freelance journalist with 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.

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