What the iCloud Hack Means For You

by Tim Cavanaugh

1. Gut check time: If you go looking for Kate Upton’s bod, you may find Justin Verlander’s. You need to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.

2. This Wall Street Journal account of how the iCloud accounts got hacked seems plausible:

A posting on online code-sharing site GitHub said a user had discovered a bug in Apple’s Find My iPhone service, which tracks the location of a missing phone and allows a user to disable the phone remotely if it is stolen. The bug allowed a hacker to keep trying passwords until identifying the right one.

Most online services lock down an account after multiple incorrect password attempts to prevent this type of so-called “brute force” attacks.

The GitHub post was updated on Monday to read: “The end of fun, Apple have just patched.”

3. The “cloud” is a generic term referring to the large amount of data which you can access and probably consider to be your property though you do not store it in any local hard drive, external storage or box of punch cards. I have heard numerous experts define the cloud as “Apple’s iCloud” in coverage, but in fact the term embraces other online storage such as Google Drive, DropBox, and so on.

4. I am generally on the side of the paparazzi against celebrities, but one point is worth keeping in mind amid all the whither-society throat clearing and dare-I-look forelock tugging about “nude selfies.” It makes perfect sense for a Hollywood performer, particularly one whose breakout role is in a franchise that requires a lot of athletic performing, to take naked pictures of himself or herself. Stars need to be in command of their physiques in ways the rest of us don’t. That’s why they’re stars and we’re not. As Joan Rivers may say if she ever gets out of her medically induced coma, “Oh, grow up!”

5. Assume that all digital information that has traveled from one location to another already exists in multiple copies that are infinitely reproducible and thus can never be considered eradicated. Only Lois Lerner can truly make data vanish. There’s a lot of wisdom going around about how you need to make sure you delete not only your local file but the copy in your Drive or Apple account, and you should definitely do that if you want to minimize your exposure. But offloading your storage costs and massively improving your ability to communicate are conveniences that come with some risk.

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