Feeling secure in this lovely, shiny new online world of the cloud? Spare a thought for Wired Journalist Mat Honan who had his iCloud account breached in recent days. It wasn’t due to a disclosure of a password on Honan’s part however, but a slip up at AppleCare, making this for a very disturbing data breach indeed. A clever hacker was able to convince AppleCare that he was Honan, and he was able to change Honan’s iCloud password, which then gave them access to all of Honan’s iCloud connected accounts and devices. After that, Honan’s devices and Macs were remotely wiped, and his Twitter accounts were used to tweet hateful messages.
It’s the ultimate cloud nightmare, and it’s a potential reality that all of us have to face if we want to use the cloud to store our data. And if this case is anything to go by, not even storing your passwords in a safe place may protect you. Good old Steve Wozniak, Apple’s original co-founder, stepped in to the conversation after the breach. Woz was quoted as saying, “I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years.” He may be on to something there.
Aside from hackers trying every which way possible to breach these services, there is also the issue of your data being held at the mercy of the cloud host. They can remove, copy and/or distribute files anywhere they like, with the user left with little or no control. It does give one pause for thought. Cloud services really do offer potentially big advantages for accessing your data across any device and in any location, but from a privacy and security perspective, these advantages are also its biggest weakness.
When it comes to the internet and your personal data security, there are only two options: “on the internet” and “not on the internet.” With so much of our lives now online thanks to the explosion of cloud and social media services, it is more prudent than ever that you protect your online presence, or at the very least, be aware that anything you put online could potentially be hacked.