How safe are your selfies?

A swathe of celebrities have seen their private photos leaked online this week. Kristen Stewart topless, Tiger Woods and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn naked, Katharine McPhee nude, all skimmed from their Cloud Storage accounts.

In a statement to ‘People Magazine’ Lindsey’s spokesperson is quoted saying:

‘It is an outrageous and despicable invasion of privacy for anyone to steal and illegally publish private intimate photos. She believes the individuals responsible for hacking her private photos as well as the websites that encourage this detestable conduct should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law.’

The leaked photos have been posted to a notorious pornography website, the very same that played host to ‘The Fappening’. The Fappening is the name given to a major hacking scandal that took place in 2014, seeing over 500 private pictures of celebrities leaked onto the internet. Many of these pictures were of a… Sensitive nature.

Cloud Storage has become increasingly popular over the last few years as brands seek to increase convenience for consumers, as well as lower manufacturing costs. Whilst this is great, it also makes it easier for hackers to obtain confidential, personal, material.

It’s important that we do all we can to dampen the ability of hackers trying to break into our systems. Below is a list of easy steps you can take to make things more difficult for online trespassers:

  • Choose a strong and unique password for online accounts, using upper and lower-case letters as well as numbers or special characters
  • Do not share passwords with other people
  • Enable two-factor verification
  • Choose difficult answers to security questions
  • Be aware of phishing threats and remain diligent

Being aware of the potential dangers of the cloud, you may be thinking of turning it off. It’s important to remember however, that your smartphone can be hacked just like anything else.

It’s clear smartphones are vulnerable to attack, but how secure are your personal files? According to ‘Consumer Reports’ in 2015 a type of malware named ‘Ghost Push’ infected 1.3 million android devices, with as many as 13,000 still being affected every day.

There are several ways that hackers are gaining access to our smartphones, below are three things you can watch out for.

Unsecure Wi-Fi

Unsecure Wi-Fi in public places can allow third parties to view everything you do whilst you’re connected. It’s not uncommon for them to gain access to your emails, unencrypted instant messages and unsecured logins to websites. To protect yourself, you should always be cautious when using free Wi-Fi.

Flaws in your operating system

Even the most prestigious of phone manufacturers can be left open to attack. Hackers are finding flaws and vulnerabilities in operating systems all the time. Its widely advised that you install updates as soon as they’re made available. Once updates are released, hackers will know how to breach out of date devices.

Harmful apps

Apps are a constant feature of smartphones, we use them every day, regularly downloading new ones onto our systems. Hidden inside these applications could be malicious code that lets hackers steal data. You need to be diligent when choosing which apps to download. Make sure they’re from a trusted source, really think about who the app developer is and whether you even really need the app at all.

You will never be able to keep yourself 100% protected online, but with these simple tips you should be able to reduce the risk of your smartphone being compromised. Stay cautious, careful and above all else, smart.