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Tips to secure your photos

How can you keep your private photos private! ICloud accounts have recently been hacked and photos have been shared with the world.

Published by Total AV Security Labs

You probably have heard by now that about 100 VIP iCloud accounts were hacked and photos with these persons naked were disclosed in various forums.

I guess that by now it is quite needless to say that the best way to avoid your pictures, especially those with you naked, to fall into the wrong hands is to avoid taking them in the first place. Because sooner or later they will fall into the wrong hands. No matter what you use to take them, phones  – can be stolen or get lost, photo cameras – the same, USB sticks, hard drives can be also lost, shared or borrowed.

But if you can’t resist the temptation and you still want to do this, here are some things you can do which might prevent someone to get access to them:

1. Don’t make backups in a cloud

Do not store pictures in cloud services if you want that they remain private. Even if you mark them as private, once you upload them, they are no longer belonging only to you. They are hosted somewhere in some datacenter and most definitely they get replicated in various locations across the globe. If the provider that stores them gets hacked, or a disgruntled employee takes revenge on his employer and leaves with data, then you’re on the hook. And you have no control over what is going on.

2. Encrypt the offline storage

I hope you definitely use some kind of storage mechanism to store the pictures: USB hard drive or USB stick, a NAS device, CD/DVD. Make sure the storage is encrypted before you copy on it. Use encryption software like Bitkeeper or Truecrypt to encrypt the device.

If you can’t encrypt the storage entirely (as in case of CD/DVD), encrypt the files to be written on that storage.

3. Deactivate the auto-backup to cloud function for your devices

If you use a smartphone (iPhone, Android) or a tablet, make sure you deactivate the automatic backup to the cloud. If you have an iPhone, then deactivate PhotoStream which syncs with iCloud, if you have Android, deactivate the auto-backup function which syncs with Google+.

If you have Dropbox, then you should configure it to not automatically backup photos.

4. Encrypt the storage of the smartphone

In case you do use a smartphone, encrypt the storage first so that if you lose the device nobody has access to the storage. You can encrypt your phone’s storage easily as all smartphones have this option built in these days. The situation with the cameras is different though as I am not aware of any camera that has such a functionality.

5. Add a two-factor authentication for your online services

It is common these days to store files in some cloud service like Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, and so on. Even if I don’t like the concept (see 3) I have to agree that it is better to store the files somewhere than just to keep them on your device or your home PC or laptop.

If you do store them, make sure you activate the two-factor authentication of these services. This way, even if someone gets access to your username and password, they will still can’t get access to the photos.