There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about hacking of celebrities phones. A number of well-known stars have had their private photographs leaked online. It was widely suspected and reported that these leaks were due to the photos being stored on Apple’s iCloud service. iCloud is a feature on Apple devices that automatically uploads user data, like photos or videos, to the cloud for supposed safekeeping.
It’s not known whether iCloud itself was hacked into (something which Apple denies) or whether the individual user accounts were just taken advantage of somehow. Whatever the case, it’s certainly raised even more questions about how secure our personal data is when stored online.
Apple has now taken steps in order to ensure that iCloud backups are more secure. They have implemented two-factor authentication in an attempt to make accounts harder to gain unauthorised access to.
In actuality, two-factor authentication was first launched for iCloud back in the first quarter of 2013. However, iOS backups and iCloud data was not covered. Now, however, that data is under protection.
Apple sent emails to their customers to let them know of the new security additions.
“If you use iCloud with any third-party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or BusyCal, you can now generate app-specific passwords that allow you to sign in securely even if the app you are using does not support two-step verification,” said the email.
Two-step verification works by registering a trusted device to your account. This device is one that can receive a 4 digit verification code through SMS or Find My iPhone. Whenever you sign in to your Apple ID, to iCloud or make a purchase from a new device then you will need to enter your password and the 4-digital verification code sent to your device.
Users can also have a 14 character recovery key that can be used to regain access to the account if that trusted device goes missing or the account password is forgotten.
Two-step verification can be enabled through My Apple ID. Select ‘Manage your Apple ID’ and sign in, then select ‘Password and Security’ and then select ‘Get Started’ under ‘Two-Step Verification’.
Following the celebrity hackings, Apple announced that they would be boosting their security alerts in order to better protect their customers. For example, Apple will also start sending push and email alerts to users if someone tries to reset their password, restore iCloud data or log in from a new device.
Although the announcement of improved two-step verification comes at a suitable time following the hackings, it was reported by Macrumors that the service was being tested as early as June this year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that phishing is the number one problem on the internet. He also said that protecting customers was their top goal.
If you use iCloud then enabling two-step authentication on your account is hugely recommended. Nothing in the cloud is ever totally secure, but by enabling this feature it’ll ensure your account has that extra layer of protection.
iCloud Backups Now Protected by Two-factor Authentication
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