How to protect your pictures and data in the cloud

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In an age where people are addicted to technology, many people have smart phones. That means they are more than likely sending pictures and information to the cloud.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Cyber Crime

The high-tech unit at the Austin Police Department says breaches into systems like the iCloud are a violation of both state and federal law.

  • The Texas penal code says it’s a Class B Misdemeanor if a person accesses another person’s computer system or network without his or her consent.
  • If the computer is owned by the government, it becomes a state jail felony.
  • If the suspect commits the breach with the intent to harm another or damage property the penalty can become a first-degree felony.
  • If you become a victim, you can file a police report as you would with any other crime. Officers also recommend you file a report with the local FBI field office. That’s because the suspect could be involved in a larger scheme.

“The cloud is the way of the world. We’re not going to get rid of the cloud and more and more properties are going to the cloud,” said Charisse Castagnoli, information security strategy officer for WebSense, a web security company.  She said by default, pictures and other information on phones and devices go to the cloud because the normal consumer doesn’t always think about backing up their information. “Our risk as individuals is, ‘how do you personally feel about your personal data potentially being exposed?'”

Castagnoli said while the cloud is relatively safe, like anything in life, people should be mindful on what they’re putting in their cloud. Phone users can turn off the feature in their settings, but will have to remember to backup their information.

Apple’s “Find My Phone” software was reportedly vulnerable to so-called “brute force” attacks, in which hackers tried multiple passwords to get access. Apple said it’s fixed a bug that let hackers gain access to nude photos of celebrities posted in their personal iCloud accounts.

Over the weekend an online bulletin board posted stolen nude pictures of more than 100 female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton. Lawrence’s representatives warned that anyone who posts the photos will be prosecuted. The FBI is also investigating the incident.

“It’s hard to predict when you first take these pictures what’s going to happen to them overtime, so I would say, think carefully about what you want to share with the whole world,” said Castagnoli.

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