It’s disturbing to think that right now, on the internet, the leading and trending topics are about illegally leaked nude photographs of some of our favourite celebrities. Let us remind you that they had no intention of sharing these images with the world, yet millions of people have seen them, because a user on 4chan made good on a promise to release them after their crazy hack into several Cloud services. Simply search for “celebrity news” on Google and it’s the first thing you see. It’s gained so much attention that the FBI is reportedly investigating the blatant invasion of privacy. How hectic is that? The FBI!
Let’s look at the situation from a different angle: pictures of people, taken in the privacy of their own space, were leaked online for the entire world to see. Each person is someone’s child. Each person is entitled to their own privacy. How would you feel if naked photos of your daughter was seen by millions upon millions of people? How would you feel if your selfies taken in front of the bathroom mirror sans towel were all of a sudden public property?
It’s safe to say that once something gets on the internet, it’s there forever. This is why we’re paying attention to this trending topic. When it comes to our personal information on the internet, how safe are we really? We don’t have the answers, but we have ways and means to ensure that our personal information is kept private. Here are our top tips:
- Privacy settings are there for a reason, use them: Lock your profiles down like Fort Knox. Make sure that your privacy settings on your different social media profiles are of a such a nature that it’s pretty much impossible for strangers to see what you’ve posted.
- Be careful what you post: now that we know that clearly not all information can be kept private, even if we do take the first measure, make sure you’re posting information that can’t come back to haunt you in the future. We did a little test and used a tool called Archivedbook.com, logged in with our information and right there, in front of us, was every status update we’ve ever posted. It gave some of a us a good laugh and then there were the WTF moments we cringed at.
- Make sure your cloud settings are off: the whole situation arose, because some evil mastermind hacked into a cloud service and retrieved the pictures. The lesson here is to switch that little “sync” button to “off”. Don’t let your personal photos upload to Dropbox, iCloud, Picasa or any other cloud service you may use. If you want to keep the pictures, store them on a personal hard drive and keep them there. Once your hard drive is full, think about how many selfies you take, then get a new hard drive.
The fact of the matter remains that if your information is online and you can view it, the chances are that someone that knows a little bit about hacking will be able to access everything you’ve ever posted in a flash.
We live in an age where our privacy can be invaded more easily than ever. We have to be vigilant about our privacy and do everything we can to keep what’s ours, ours. Take a little time tonight to analyse how safe your information and photos are, and then react accordingly, because if we know just a little bit more about how the internet can invade our privacy, we can teach our kids and less than digitally proficient friends to protect themselves.
We’re done being super serious, so here’s a funny meme: