How to boost your iCloud security

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 30th October 2014

Online security is a serious issue, and following the furore of the recent celebrity hacking incident, more and more users are worried about the safety of their data stored in the iCloud. Whilst the salacious news stories focused on the intimate photographs of stars, the iCloud is used by many for storing a myriad of personal documents, pictures and data.

The cyber attackers who hacked the celebrity iCloud accounts were able to circumnavigate the iCloud security checks, but could the celebrities have done anything to prevent the hacking? The security of personal data has never been so important, but what can be done to boost iCloud security?

Passwords

The first act that helps towards boosting iCloud security is probably the most obvious – ensure a very strong password for the account is used. Those using iCloud should strengthen their Apple ID password with the use of extra characters, numbers and punctuation. Alongside this, users should also ensure their password is changed often.

Two-step verification

Another way to bolster security is to ensure that the two-step verification is enabled. This facility asks users to verify their identity before it allows any changes to be implemented in the account information, or any digital purchases to be made. This is an essential step towards improving iCloud security, and one that may have prevented so many snap shots from being found by those intent on hacking accounts.

Security questions

An additional measure to strengthen security practices is to choose different security questions. The default questions used by Apple, to identify users online or when contacting Apple, are fairly obvious personal queries. For those hacked celebrities, it may have been the case that the answers to these questions were easily researched by the cyber criminals. Users should use alternative answers – non-truths that are easily remembered but cannot be researched by potential cyber attackers. The answers to the security questions only need to be easily remembered by the user; it’s not necessary for them to be the truth.

Ensuring users credit cards are changed regularly can also boost security. Card details are transported with every online purchase. A healthy dose of paranoia is key to security.

Deactivate backups

Using iTunes backups may also prove to be a way to sure up iCloud security. Many devices automatically back up to iCloud, and because it seems entirely possible that iCloud backups were used as a way to hack personal information, it makes sense to alter this default state and toggle the security setting to switch the facility off.

For users who still aren’t entirely confident of iCloud’s security after enabling the two-step verification and improving the strength of their password, it is possible to prevent a photo stream from being uploaded to the iCloud. It is a simple matter of deselecting “My Photo Stream” and “Photo Sharing”.

Indeed, for users who feel completely unable to trust iCloud any more, they can simply sign out and use other methods of backing up data.