iCloud Alert

As a backup system, iCloud stores e-mails, calendars, documents, photos and more, all while allowing the automatic synchronization across Macs and iOS devices; it serves to make the synchronization across iOS devices easier since connection to a PC or Mac to access iTunes is not necessary.

However, although the feature seems incredibly useful, Apple costumers have never really understood how the exactly the feature works.

Essentially, iCloud is supposed to act as an online storage facility, like Dropbox or Google Drive. It is relatively easy to determine whether or not pictures are deleted from Dropbox or Google Drive; however, that is not the case for iCloud users – when some users think they’ve deleted pictures, the pictures are still saved inside the iCloud.

In order to make sure data is deleted from the iCloud, users must go to either go to the Photo Stream tab on their iOS device or Photo Stream option in iPhoto to view and delete the unwanted pictures.

To stop new uploads, users must go to the settings menu on their iPhone or iPad (“System Preference” on Mac OS), open the “iCloud” category and switch off Photo Stream.

If users wish to disable iCloud, they must go to the “iCloud” category in settings, and press on “delete account.”

Because iCloud is easily accessible through multiple Apple platforms, it’s recommended not to have any risqué pictures uploaded if one wishes to keep them private.

Although there is really no way to make sure pictures remain safe and “private,” security experts encourage people to enable the two factor authentication (TFA) feature provided by Apple, as well as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter. TFA increases security of data and requires both a password and a pin before being able to access an account form an unknown device. The inconvenience of this extra step, however, discourages many from turning it on.

To turn on TFA for an Apple device, go to My Apple ID, select “Manage your Apple ID and sign in,” select “Password and Security,” and under “Two-Step Verification” select “Get Started” and follow the instructions.

In order to prevent iCloud hackings, Apple needs to improve the feature’s security since one can easily access iCloud accounts using Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker, also known as EPPB. EPPB downloads information to the cloud rather than retrieves from it. It has also been suggested that Apple should have a list of common passwords and not allow people to use them.

Apple has already begun to keep users aware of alerts via emails and push notifications.

Users are also being highly encouraged to opt out of weak passwords and easy-to-guess security questions; they’re also recommended to use a randomly created password as a security question.

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