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How To: Protect Your Photos From Hackers


Image Credit: Know Your Meme

The recent hacking attack on Apple’s iCloud service, which led to many celebrities, male and female alike, having private naughty photos leaked to the internet following hacking attacks, has prompted everyone to rethink the way they use image sharing services online, and the do’s and dont’s with regards to posting images.

First, there is no guarantee that if you send photos of yourself to other people that the internet won’t be able to get hold of them if they are stored online on servers which could potentially be broken into, or are created and transferred via apps like SnapChat.

Take care when posting images on these services – especially if those images are of an explicit nature. It’s better to avoid posting compromising photos than to do so and regret it later – who knows where the images will end up and who will be gaining profit from them.

SEE ALSO: SnapChat Pics Leaked From Hacked Archive

Any file that is sent via the internet has the potential to be saved by software, even if that software has nothing to do with the method of sending – see our article above on the SnapChat third party archive hacking incident for more info.

In other words, if it’s accessible via the internet, it’s potentially vulnerable. If you simply have to keep and store sensitive images digitally, the best place to store them is locally on your own computer, preferably on a password protected folder or user profile, or better yet on a plug and play device which you yourself can unplug from the internet and keep an eye on.

SnapChat users were recently targeted, as third party archive site SnapSaved was hacked for around 200,000 private images. Users on 4chan claim that at least 10% of these may be of a sexual nature.

Remember the following Golden Rule – if it’s not plugged into the internet or the wireless function is turned off, hackers cannot steal your data unless they are there in the room with the computer. With this in mind, a USB drive seems like the best option for your images, lock it up in a cupboard or drawer for even more peace of mind.

There are ways to send files and images to others online with a lessened risk of hacking, such as using a service which is secure, not shown in public, and protected by a large corporation with extensive security knowledge. Sending them as compressed attachments on Gmail, for example. Still, the threat of hackers getting into your Gmail account is still there, with only a password between them and your private images.

A password, if used properly, can be virtually impenetrable, but if created with little care can prove to be useless. As you can see from below, the longer and more complicated the password, the longer it will take to crack via the common method which hackers use, brute force entry, a method that automatically tries as many letter and number combinations as possible to gain access. More often than not, accounts are broken into by brute force because they use easy passwords.

Take a look at this animation made by Intel to see just how easy it is to slow down hackers trying to brute force their way past a long password.

The only foolproof method of sharing images we can think of, that will never be under threat from hackers online, is snapping your pics with a digital camera, printing them off, deleting them from your camera and computer, then sending the printed images via the mail to the recipient.

This is an 100% guaranteed method to avoid hackers stealing your selfies. It might not be the easiest or the most cost effective way, especially if your recipient is hundreds or thousands of miles away, but more often than not you can put more trust in your local Post Office than even the most security conscious tech firm.

SEE ALSO: Apple Nude Celebrity Photo Leak – Who is to blame?

You can always still use the internet, but the risk is still there. The least risk method we’d suggest is sending your images via Gmail or another Email service such as Outlook from Microsoft. Just remember to be password smart and use a password that’s long enough to be virtually uncrackable, something that’s long and contains letters, numbers and also characters.

So, to summarize, think safe, be password smart and most importantly post with caution. Your reputation may be at stake. Check our external links below to a wealth of info on both recent photo leaks and a helpful tutorial on securing your iCloud account from the Smart Data Collective.

Further reading: Celebgate and The Snappening on Know Your Meme (Possibly NSFW)

Helpful iCloud Safety Tutorial: Smart Data Collective

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