TIME Security

Is It Safe for You to Use the Cloud After Celebrity Hack?

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These four tips can help protect your information online

News of a hacker breaking into Apple iCloud accounts to steal photos of dozens of female celebrities has rocked the tech world, where Apple’s security measures had been thought by many to be rock-solid.

And if hackers can access the accounts of celebrities, it’s possible they could access your information as well. Here’s what you can do to protect the data you save to the cloud:

Use Two-Step Authentication

Two-step authentication requires you to answer two questions before you can access an account. Typically, one question requires you to recall a password and another requires you to look at a text message or email and enter an authentication code. The process is a huge deterrent for hackers who may use one of many sophisticated methods to guess a password but have no way to access your phone to tap in an authentication code. A number of services offer two-step authentication, including the iCloud, Gmail and many banks. For most services you have to opt in.

Check the Cloud, Not Just Your Device

After hearing that her photos had made their way to the Internet, Scott Pilgrim star Mary E. Winstead said she had deleted the photos in question “long ago.” But deleting photos from your phone doesn’t mean that they’re deleted from the cloud. In fact, the cloud exists to back up everything you do and create on a device. If there’s something you never want anyone to see, delete it everywhere!

Vary Your Passwords Between Devices and Sites

This is an obvious one, but you may be surprised how many people don’t follow it. Having the same password for everything greatly increases your exposure to potential hackers. Once they get access to one thing, they have it all.

If You Don’t Want People to See, Don’t Put It Out There

Even the most cautious Internet users are vulnerable to attacks, as hacking technology gets ever more complex. If there’s something you really wouldn’t want people to see, don’t put it out there. That is, don’t put it anywhere on the Internet.

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