Sep 2
11:05 AM

How Private are Your Private Photos?

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals


Apple Inc. is “actively investigating” whether a security weakness in its iCloud service was behind the release of a large number of private and intimate photographs of Hollywood celebrities this past weekend. The affected celebrities include Jennifer Lawrence, Victoria Justice, Emily Browning, Kate Bosworth, Jenny McCarthy, Kate Upton, and many others. Early reports suggest that these celebrities had their phones set to sync to their iCloud accounts, and then had their iCloud accounts hacked.

While this issue has grabbed headlines because of the celebrities involved, this is a reminder to all of us that store personal data or confidential work product. In today’s world, phones, tablets, and laptops save your data and routinely back that data up to cloud services.  That data can be a private photo (in the case of these celebrities) or it could be a confidential client letter.  Once data is published online, it is effectively there forever, even if you choose to delete it on your personal device. In other words, delete doesn’t necessarily mean delete.

How can you prevent this? Tips like encrypting your zip files, clearing out your cloud storage, and making shareable links temporary are are good start.  In addition, USD students can learn more about cybersecurity and protecting online privacy at our LRC Tech Talk Series this Thursday, Sept. 4th from 12-12:50pm in Warren Hall 2B.

Tech Talk Series: