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iOS security risks: After the XcodeGhost exploit is Apple's iOS really safer than Android? Plus: What security apps do you need for iPad & iPhone

Karen Haslam | Sept. 24, 2015
In this article we look at some of the security threats that have hit Apple's iOS devices, including XcodeGhost, WireLurker, Masque Attack, the Olag Pliss ransom case and the SSL flaw.

However, Apple says the hack wasn't the result of an iCloud vulnerability or a breach in Find My iPhone, but rather a targeted attack where hackers sniff out user names, passwords, and answers to security questions. As Apple says, targeted attacks on specific users are commonplace. For example, Wired editor Mat Honan had his iCloud account hacked back in 2012.

Another suggestion as to how these compromising celebrity photos were acquired was that it could have been through an email phishing attack. The theory is that celebrities could have been tricked into entering their usernames and passwords on a fake login page. We wonder if celebrities are really that silly, although if the email was claiming to be about their nomination at the Baftas or Oscars then anything is possible.

Why were hackers able to get nude celebrity photos?

If you ever lose your iPhone, you may be surprised to find that when you sync up a new iPhone with your iCloud account your old photos appear on the device. As long as you, sensibly, use iCloud to back up the data on your phone when you get your new phone and sync it with the backup you will recover your photos.

Apple also offers a service where the last 1000 photos you take are sucked up into the cloud in an PhotoStream that can be viewed on all your Apple devices including iPad, iPhone, and Mac. This is a handy way to view and save images to a different device.

However, the side effect of these handy services is that your photos are in the cloud and anyone who gains access to your iCloud account could gain access to them. Even if you delete a photo on your iPhone it will remain in your iCloud photo stream until you delete it from that service. 

There are various ways a hacker could accessed those photos. They could sync a device using the Apple ID, or they could use software that will access and recover an iPhone iCloud back up, for example.

The iPhone isn't the only phone to saves photos to the cloud. Android phones saves photos to Google+ and Microsoft's Windows Phone saves to OneDrive.

How can I stop people getting hold of my photos?

Your phone may only hold photos of your dog or children but it is wise to exercise some caution regardless. In the wrong hands any of your information could be used to nefarious means.

There are a few ways you can make sure that nobody can access the photos on your iPhone and in iCloud. We show you how to completely disable photo sharing to iCloud here, but there is no need to be quite so drastic, as we said above, it's actually a useful feature.


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