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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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September 2, 2014 - 1:36 pm

By now you’ve surely heard about the huge hack of several A-listers’ iCloud accounts. The hacker or hackers released a trove of highly private material from Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and others.

Being A-listers, they are targets and will always be targets for blackmail, invasions of privacy, even terrorism. Surely they know this by now.

Apple has confirmed that the leaked material came from its iCloud service.

Update 9/2: Apple has released a statement confirming that the company’s investigation found no evidence that any of its services were compromised; the accounts affected were attacked using conventional (security question/username) password reset methods.

Update 2:35 pm ET: Over at The Guardian, tech reporter Charles Arthur summarizes the current thinking about the image release from security researchers. Some are surmising that these images were gathered over months or years (the earliest timestamps are from 2011, the most recent from last month) and then the repository itself was hacked or stolen. iCloud is still under scrutiny as a vector for gaining access to private images.

So it’s not a system-wide security breach. The hackers attacked at the most obvious point of failure, the users themselves. “Password” is not a viable password, folks. iCloud is probably the single largest hack magnet on earth. iPhones are more status symbols than technological necessities these days. Every celebrity and millions of non-celebrities have iPhones, or Android competitors, and they all can interact with the cloud.

A few months ago, I noticed that my phone was uploading my photos to the cloud automatically. They were just pics of family trips and mundane stuff, but I still didn’t want it outside my immediate control. It took a few clicks to get to the right place and turn that off. Turning the cloud services off on phones should be made so simple that anyone can figure out it. That doesn’t mean that people will take the steps to turn it off, of course.

iCloud and similar cloud storage is great, but it’s also creepy and fraught with problems. I wrote that post three years ago, when iCloud first came out, only to get poo-pooed by some because “I don’t have anything to hide!” Or, “Apple has to keep up with technological trends!” True, but not the point.

Everybody has something to hide. Everybody. Most of us probably don’t have naked pictures that the entire world wants to see, but we have bank accounts, addresses, phone numbers and family information that we don’t want out beyond our control. The cloud is a huge trade-off — we trade breezy permanent access to our stuff and painless back-ups for chucking our information and pixels all over the place.

The hacker(s) in this case have obviously committed crimes and should be severely punished. It might be time for heavy mandatory minimum sentencing for cyber crimes like this. The hacker who tried to blackmail Miss Teen USA only spent 18 months in jail. That’s not enough.

Everything is going toward cloud computing, there’s no getting around that.

But there’s no substitute for not being an idiot. Our smart phones are as much our enemies as our friends. We take them everywhere with us, meaning that unless we turn off the GPS features, they can rat on us at any given second. There are products out there that enable anyone to use smart phones to spy on individuals. No NSA program needed. A quick Google search hauls up numerous how-tos on hacking cell phones. They’re our handy cameras, and they can send our private pictures off to who knows where. If you send a photo in a message to anyone, you’ve totally lost control of it. We send and receive email on them, and that leaves us even less secure.

When you’re an Oscar-winning actress, the most red hot model in the world, and so forth, you’re a target. You’re always a target.

And so is everyone else, in one way or another. Hackers may not want our naked pictures, especially if we don’t have any, but they want our money and our identities.

 

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
Top Rated Comments   
"Don't be an idiot."

Yes, well, but if you ban idiocy from Hollywood there would be nothing left.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another case of "Hey, don't run around drunk and naked, because bad people can exploit you", resulting in:

STFU, Rape Apologist!!1!!

7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Everybody has something to hide."

Except me and my monkey.

Seriously, I noticed the same thing about my iPad: cloud storage was turned on by default for all the apps. I had to turn most of them off.

It's easy to say "Well, don't upload your dirty pics to the cloud!" But how many people know that's the default and not the other way round? Most people get a new iPhone, they probably just start using it. Only geeks mess around with "settings" and stuff.

Maybe they'll learn something from this little episdode. The best policy is, never store anything on the cloud that you wouldn't want EVERYBODY to see.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (26)
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my co-worker's mom makes $63 /hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her income was $21559 just working on the internet for a few hours. hop over to this web-site...

=========>>>>> www.SwipeFox.com
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hollywood hollow-heads should have listened to their lord and master Obama: "Don't do stupid sh!t!", but stupid is as stupid does.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Hollywood hollow-heads should have listened to their lord and master Obama: 'Don't do stupid sh!t!'"

Instead, they copied him.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
What happened to modesty, common sense, and self-respect? Seems those have been replaced by a flagrant need to be outrageous, stupid, and laughable narcissism.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The hacker who tried to blackmail Miss Teen USA only spent 18 months in jail. That’s not enough."

Yes, and the guy who sent "Bridget, from our credit card company" was busted twice before, "suffering" only consent decrees which he promptly violated. The guy who did several $$million in phony auto warranties was busted previously for the same offense, and he too, was back at it before the ink was dry on his "decrees".

The guy who collapsed the stock exchange in 1998 by taking down MCI, cost something like $200million in losses, and did five years in jail, then got a nice consulting gig for the Feds so they could protect THEIR systems.

Don't expect the FCC or the FTC to do anything other than issues press releases.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
How self-absorbed do you have to be to carry nude photos of yourself in your phone?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, the security question thing makes sense. Since they're public figures, everybody knows the answers to the normal questions. and then you don't need a password.

Although in many cases, what could there be to show that they haven't already shown for money? (Not that I plan to look - I'm not going to be an accessory after the fact.)
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have a 2TB external drive that stores all my data files and does a constant backup of the C: drive. That is tied to another drive that gets stored outside my house.

Neither hackers nor the NSA gets my STUFF.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a technical note to Bryan. It _may_ be that the celebs had passwords that were secure, but the hackers got software loaded on their devices that recorded and sent back passwords. I guess that would make the hackers even more heinous.

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever taken or had taken a naked picture of myself. I think I'm fairly common, so why do all these celebs have that on their systems? Is it a requirement of the job at some point?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I refuse to use any cloud storage, and I strongly advise that nobody else should either. There is no real reason to take that risk, the price for 2TB HDD averages $140 on Amazon for example and you can pair that with a 240GB SSD to run your OS and Office for about $120. Total security for under $300 with a lot of capacity and performance.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought that as soon as I heard all of the ads for putting all of your business and personal information in "the cloud" for safekeeping. Right...

As for the naked celebs, any time you take naked pics of yourself, or allow them to be taken, you better figure they will be released sometime when you least expect it. And not just celebs. A shocking number of young girls apparently think nothing of posting naked and semi-naked pics of themselves on places like Facebook, thinking that somehow only their "friends" can see. WRONG!!!!! And letting your boyfriend of the moment take naked pics of you is really stupid too. Just say no, ladies!
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure someone put a gun to the heads of those "celebrities" and said, "get naked! I wanna take of photo of you and post it in the CLOUD." "Cloud!" they thought, how perfect, I'm part of a cloud!
Stupid douchebags. Jennifer Lawrence. Oscar Winner and idiot.

7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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