A Look into the Aftermath of The iCloud Hack

obrBy Victoria Kazz — Last Updated: 18 Sep'14 2014-09-15T19:30:00+00:00Google+

The dust has finally settled from the Apple iCloud hack explosion. Unfortunately, effects of the breach are expansive, way past iCloud users that were affected.

How The iCloud Hack Changed The Industry

Two weeks ago, explicit celebrity photos were leaked onto public social media networks. What was first considered an iCloud security breach soon became the result of tedious and intelligent hackers. Apple’s official statement was that they were not to blame, but were investigating the breach and enhancing security procedures. We covered the whole story, click here to read it.

Damage control by celebrity publicists and Apple’s iPhone 6 launch quickly diffused the situation – but not quick enough. The cloud industry as a whole is paying for the iCloud breach. Seeing public figures, like Jennifer Lawrence, have their private photos stolen and spread around the Internet had cloud users re-thinking their subscriptions.

Across the country iCloud customers moved their data to other cloud providers, while others moved their content out of the cloud completely.

Now, providers nationwide must overcome stigmas that cloud storage and online file sharing is unsafe, prone to hacking and vulnerable to a data breach. Consumers know that an insecure cloud platform could not only cause private information to become public but also to identity theft.

Keeping Customers In The Cloud

Recognizing this instant cloud skepticism, companies are making valiant efforts to keep customers in the cloud. For example, SoftLayer has teamed up with Intel to provide enterprise customers better security. Organizations with personal and confidential business documents need a cloud storage system they can trust. Bare metal platforms will provide better security for subscribers than ever before, promoting confidence that an iCloud hack is something that won’t be repeated.

CloudAlloy is tackling cloud doubt in a different way. The company gives users the opportunity to split content into encrypted pieces. Therefore, even if one storage platform is hacked, the content is virtually useless without the corresponding pieces. Upon request, users can bring all the encrypted data into one place to be pieced back together quickly, and ready for viewing or editing.

Even Apple, the company that claims they did nothing wrong is making a change to keep customers using iCloud. At the iPhone launch, a new pricing scheme was presented for iCloud. In an effort to better compete in the market as well as keep customers long term, the company now offers tiered pricing and five gigabytes of storage for free.

Keeping Content Safe In The Cloud 

While cloud companies are responsible for keeping stored data safe, subscribers can also help themselves when uploading content. Think of your online documents, pictures and information like valued furniture or jewelry. No matter how safe you feel the storage site is, you would still keep jewelry in a case, or furniture wrapped in fabric to prevent scratches. Encrypting data is the cloud storage equivalent of a jewelry box or bubble wrap. It adds an extra layer of protection against any type of hack or breach.

It’s also important to know what shouldn’t be stored in the cloud. Even the most secure cloud platforms can be subjected to governmental interference and potential data leaks. Keeping the following things out of the cloud is always a good idea:

  •  Illegal or pirated content
  •  Passwords
  •  Sensitive data
  •  Crucial business information
  •  Personal photos and videos

A more in depth look at why each of these things shouldn’t be stored in the cloud can be found here. Even though most online storage services will let you store whatever you choose, keeping unencrypted, personal data in the cloud is a serious risk to take. If personal photos were kept out of the cloud, or even just encrypted before storage, the iCloud hack could have potentially never happened.

Whose Really To Blame For The iCloud Hack?

This is a hard question to answer from the outside looking in. Apple very clearly stated that the data breach was not the company’s fault. In their own words:

“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet.

None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone.”

Apple went on to say that the hackers must have worked for months to gain access into the compromised accounts. It is also possible that effected celebrities gave out too much personal information to friends, families and co-workers or had easy-to-guess passwords.

However, with the forward-thinking engineers working at Apple, it’s hard to believe that this breach couldn’t have been prevented. It’s also important to note that the security enhancements they promoted after the breach could have been implemented months ago. Only time will tell whether its Apple fault, as the investigation is ongoing and a future breach is always a possibility.

Do you think its Apple’s fault? 

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