Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Naked picture

Aha! Got your attention, didn't I?

Jennifer Lawrence recently had naked pictures of herself stolen from her iCloud account and leaked to the Internet.  Several people have offered the wisdom that you shouldn't take naked pictures of yourself (or allow others to take them) if you don't want to see those pictures leaked all over the Internet.

I find it reprehensible that hackers feel that it is acceptable to break into anyone's digital life and share what they discover. By the way, most Apple product users who back up their phones (etc.) are backing up their content to iCloud. They are not 'posting' it there. Most do not realize that the 'backup' means that their content is accessible through the web. What hacked users should be more concerned about is the password that they use for iTunes. If the password was that easy to hack, I hope it is not being used for anything else. Also, I hope hacked users aren't just focusing on having their digital content exposed, but are checking their iTunes account for fraudulent purchases.

Everything you type on a keyboard or store on a network-connectable device is at risk. I earn my living as a network security specialist. I tell people, time and time again, to assume that everything you have in electronic format is as public as a postcard as it travels through the U.S. Postal System. And, while encryption of your electronic possessions can gain you some level of protection, encryption is not a panacea. Some encryption algorithms can be broken by a determined and skilled agent. Plus, some trojan software can record every keystroke you make prior to those bits being encrypted by software that resides on your machine.

Remember all the public figures who had to deal with early-career photos coming out after they became famous, pre-digital age?  People used to chastise those celebrities as well, pointing out that they should never have had those photos taken had they not been willing to live with the consequences later.

While I am not encouraging anyone to take naked pictures of themselves, digital or otherwise,   I am not comfortable with the statement "Don't take naked pictures." To me this is too darn close to blame-the-victim statements even if the statements are not meant that way. 

If I routinely leave my backdoor open for a housemate who constantly misplaces their key, and then someone walks in and takes all of our valuables or assaults one of us, I already know that I shouldn't have left the backdoor open.  Believe me, I don't need to be reminded.  In addition, I may take such a statement to mean that people who leave their backdoors open are to blame for whatever happens as a result.

Now, feel free to swap any of the following for "leave their backdoors open": 

  • "leave a key under the mat" 
  • "wear provocative clothing" 
  • "dress like a gang member"
  • "stay in a marriage after physical abuse"
  • "correctly answer questions in class a lot"
  • "drink too much at a party", etc.

Now do you see the naked picture?

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