03 November 2014
These days, we like to take photos all the time, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. From nights out to parties, new outfits to new boyfriends, pretty much everything we do gets snapped on a daily basis.
Though this is a great way to document life, share memories and stay connected with friends, uploading, texting or emailing your private and personal photos can have its downsides – as the recent celebrity photo hack showed.
In fact, these private photos, videos and any form of sexting aren’t really that private at all and sharing them could potentially put you seriously at risk from hackers. So is your digital life really that personal? And what can you do to stay safe online?
What was the celebrity photo hack?
Last August rumours starting hitting the web about a huge leak of naked photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, Amber Heard and Kim Kardashian.
A group of hackers had specifically targeted their iCloud accounts, stolen photos and videos and then posted them online.
As well as photos that the Celebs had uploaded to the cloud themselves, a lot of the images were online because iPhones automatically save photos and videos to the cloud at the end of every day.
As a result, a lot of the celebrities involved didn’t even realise the photos were online, finding out with the rest of the world when the images and links were published on the 4Chan website.
When asked about the hack, Jennifer Lawrence stated, “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” going on to say “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offence. You should cower with shame”.
Unfortunately, with the size of the internet, the number of links that sprang up and the number of times the images were downloaded, it’s unlikely these photos will ever go away. Becoming something that Jennifer Lawrence and all the other celebrities involved have to deal with forever.
How can I keep my private stuff private?
These celebrities were obviously targeted because of their fame, and you might think that no-one would ever try to hack your photos or distribute your private images against your will. The problem is that you just never know.
From angry exes to school bullies and even total strangers, there are plenty of people out there who might want to access your personal photos and videos without your permission. This is an issue that has become so important that those who post so-called “revenge porn” pictures and videos on the internet could face two years in jail under a new law passed just this month.
And as the photos you upload, text, or email today or tomorrow will be online forever; even people you meet in 10 or 20 years time could access photos of you as a teenager or young person.
The best way to stop this from happening is simply not to take the photos in the first place. You should also check your phone settings to see if your images are automatically backed up to the cloud.
If you have taken photos you want to keep private, make sure that you don’t send them to anyone else or even email them to yourself. As, once they’re online in any way, shape or form they’re there forever.
Protecting your online world from hackers is something that’s going to become increasingly important as more and more of our photos, emails and information gets uploaded. To stay safe, start thinking about web security today and keep your private images out of the hands of hackers for good.
For more information about this and other ways to keep safe check out our website. If you’re worried about any of the issues discussed here contact our Freephone helpline on 0808 800 1037 or live chat using the box in the bottom right hand corner. We’re here to help!