Updated 08:40 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 30, 2020

Hacking iCloud Accounts is Suprisingly Easy

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The recent hacking of celebrities Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna's iCloud accounts has led many technology consumers to ask the question: how secure are the online profiles that millions of users make and contribute to on a daily basis?

According to several tech experts, not very.  While Apple has been quick to point out that this was a targeted attack and that iCloud, an online service that stores users' data in an online hub to be accessed on multiple device, was not compromised, that is not the issue at hand. 

The plain and simple fact is this: even though companies do their best to set up parameters that allow users to be the only ones that can access their online profiles, those parameters are very easy to work around in today's age of cyber activity. This does not mean that hackers are the main problem either; anyone with a little diligence and time to do a few Google searches can find everything they need to compromise someone's online profiles.

It is no secret that perhaps the most popular method of preserving one's online personality after forgetting ones password is the "security question." security researcher Nik Cubrilovic calls this the most popular, most effective way for a hacker to gain access to a user's many online accounts.

The idea behind these security questions is to have an extra measure of defense whenever someone forgets their password by posting the answer to questions that only the user would know. But think about some of these questions that people choose to preserve their privacy.

What city were you born in?

What is your mother's maiden name?

What was the name of your childhood pet?

In an age when people are content with sharing their entire life story on the internet does anyone really believe that someone else could not get these answers by quickly searching their public facebook profiles?

If this can be done to nearly anyone with a knack for social media, imagine how easily it must have been for the celebrity hackers to research these questions, type them into the iCloud login screen and gain access to their most sordid private lives.

The Atlantic called security questions "the biggest joke in online identity verification," and deservedly so. Over sharing is standard operating procedure at this point (in fact most celebrities are expected to divulge every aspect of their lives to better connect and/or to be ridiculed by the masses), so they are an obviously antiquated system of privacy preservation.

Ironically enough, Apple made waves last year when they announced that their iPhone 5s would come equipped with a fingerprint scanner to allow for a straight-forward and effective method of maintaining personal privacy. Hopefully we can look forward to them advancing this sense of forward-thinking technology to their other products. Otherwise, we can all expect what little aspects of our personal lives that we choose to keep to ourselves to be gone before we think to change our profile picture.

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