In a Wall Street Journal article, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed the recent celebrity photo hacking and acknowledged Apple could have made users more aware of the risks that come with storing information in the cloud.

While the cloud is an invaluable resource and allows multiple devices to link up and sync to the same information, it’s not a vault. It’s more like a house and houses can be broken into–their locks can be picked, their windows can be broken–all you can do is be aware of the risks and take as many precautionary measures as you can.

In a perfect world, cyber criminals would not exist. They would not steal our identities or plunder intimate photos. They would not profit from our losses. But this is not a perfect world and criminals do exist. And just like you have to be careful and aware when using your credit cards or when banking online, you also have to be keenly aware of your security when you’re using the cloud.

The only foolproof method for not having sensitive data hacked from your cloud? Don’t put the sensitive data in your cloud, if possible. Thieves cannot steal what isn’t there. Let’s say you have a million dollars that you keep in your closet. If a thief breaks into your house, he just became a million dollars richer. Now let’s say you have a million dollars and you keep it in a bank, in a vault. If a thief breaks into your house, maybe he steals the flat screen, but he doesn’t get a million dollar payout.

So think about this–what is the value of the information that’s being stored in your cloud? Is it $40 worth of songs? $1000 worth of stock photos? Or is it a client list that could be worth millions in the wrong hands? Are there personal/private photos that someone would try to sell for thousands of dollars? Then ask yourself, is that a risk you’re willing to take?

If so, be smart about your security. Make your passwords challenging and strong. Change them often. Use two-factor authentication.

However, if storing your sensitive data on the cloud is not a risk you’re willing to take, then store it on a backup drive or a usb, something physical that you can lock in a vault or keep on your person–something that’s completely offline. And don’t forget about the old fashioned, hard copy options for certain items!

Bottom line, criminals are out there and if they even think there’s a chance they can profit off of you, they’re going to try. We MUST stay aware of our surroundings both in the physical world and the cyber world. Above all, we must take responsibility for our own security and privacy whenever and wherever possible.

 

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