How safe are your photos in the cloud? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

How safe are your photos in the cloud?

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WASHINGTON - The photo scandal that has been dubbed “celebgate” has many people wondering: How safe is your information in the cloud?

Hackers who posted nude photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton online say they obtained the pics from iCloud (though Apple hasn't confirmed it). In an age where everyone is backing up, that has a lot of people concerned.

But how does it happen? USA Today and Yahoo Tech columnist Rob Pegoraro told FOX 5 that most of the time, it's not a case of hackers actually breaking into Apple's servers. Instead, most of the time, the hacker found access another way.

Clouds are programs you access through the web—like your email, Dropbox, or back-up services like Carbonite or iCloud. Pegoraro says in this case, hackers most likely figured out weak passwords or conned their way through security questions. If your security questions (which are used to identify who you are before a forgotten password is reset or emailed to you) are answers that are on public record, they aren't as secure as you think because others could look them up.

So how can you keep this from happening to you?

If you do use the cloud, experts say it's best to activate two-step verification, which will send you a text with a secondary password to access your accounts.  You'll only have to take the extra action when you're on a new computer.  

You can also choose to unlink a device from the cloud. Or, don't store your important information (or photos and videos) on the cloud at all. Instead, you could opt for an old-school hard drive.     

Pegoraro also recommends password manager sites, including (a company based in Fairfax, Va.). You create one master password for their service, and then they create and keep track of complicated passwords for your accounts.     

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