Precautionary measures that cloud storage users should take

Sep 10, 2014, 10:55 IST | A correspondent

While cloud storage with the use of apps like iCloud, Dropbox and many others is generally considered an advantage when it comes to data storage and managing, it has several security issues...

On August 31st, 2014, a collection of almost 200 private pictures of various Hollywood celebrities, including Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and with many containing nudity, were leaked and posted on various social networking websites. The images were allegedly obtained via a breach of Apple's cloud services suite iCloud.

Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst
Nude photos of more than 100 well-known celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirten Dunst (both in pic) have been leaked online

Following the scandal, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that a new security alert will be incorporated in the storage system in iCloud within the next few weeks to prevent future leaks.

The alert will allow the user "to take immediate action" by changing the password and regain control of the account or alert Apple's security team.

While cloud storage is generally considered an advantage when it comes to data storage and managing, it has several security issues such as the aforementioned security breach.

Cloud storage
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Most users are unable to remember complicated passwords. Files stored in cloud apps using easy-to-remember passwords fall easy prey to hackers. So the key is to ensure that the password is strong i.e. containing a combination of letters, numbers and syntaxes. This can be achieved by referring to strong password generating websites available via Google search.

This was emphasised by Apple CEO Tim Cook who said that the most important measures to ensure the security of iCloud content is not the technological factor but safer, stronger passwords and the two-factor authentication system.

In the case of iCloud iPhone users can stop sending photos automatically to their iCloud account by just switching off the function in the settings panel.

Cloud password
Representational picture

Also, users must ensure that the security questions associated with the account for resetting password and the answers to these questions should not be too obvious for anybody to guess via social engineering.

Do not create any digital footprint of private content that must not be shared. Make sure that the smartphone or tablet that you are using is not always connnected to the internet.

If you have configured some free cloud storage account on your smart device for backup, better remember this while taking every photo or video using that device. Most of the smartphones and tablets have the facility of configuring free cloud storage accounts and if configured, it may automatically send all the snaps and videos taken using that device as a backup to your cloud storage account.

Cloud storage services are not always accessible. Earlier this year, Google's cloud storage service Drive reportedly experienced a glitch that sent the service unavailable for more than five hours.

The service disruption also affected Google's Docs word processing and Sheet spreadsheet applications, and later its Sites intranet builder.

The apps and services affected are used by individuals with free Google accounts and also by organizations with the Google Apps suite, which comes in free and fee-based editions.

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