A Series of Unfortunate Events

In my last post, ‘Hacktivists: The Hero or villain’, I looked at the rise of hacktivism, with people like Julian Assange using this technique of retrieving information online for social and/or political reasons. While this is the larger issue at hand, it is necessary for us to be aware of our risks as Internet users, because hackers don’t discriminate when they choose their targets.

In late August of this year, an anonymous hacker posted nude photos of over 100 celebrities on 4chan. These images were illegally obtained though iCloud, being a major invasion of privacy. Many of the victims as well as other celebrities have spoken out about the incident on twitter such as Mary E. Winstead.

While many offered support and sympathy for those affect others took to social media to shame and blame these victims for the invasion of privacy.

Less then two months after this incident, another anonymous hacker took to 4chan to release thousand of nude photos from snapchat. Known as “the snappening”, this release was not just targeted at celebrities but anyone who used apps such as SnapSaved, that lets users save snap chats. Snapchat issued the following statement after the leaks:

“We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks. Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security. We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed” (Snapchat, 2014).

I’m sure many others, like myself, didn’t stop to check these terms and conditions when we downloaded the app. While this doesn’t give hackers the right to infiltrate personal information, but it does make it a lot easier for them to get away with it.

I in no way, shape or form blame the victims of these hacks, but rather the technologies we are so trusting of. Whether it’s snapchat or iCloud it seems as though the content we put online or on our devices, no longer has the ability to remain private. Mashable has released an article, ‘How to Protect Your Photos (Nude or Otherwise) From Hackers on iCloud’ and the Independent have posted an article, ‘How to keep Snapchat pictures and videos private’, both worth a read. As it stands, the answers to this problem are not yet known, and we haven’t outsmarted hackers, so it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

Sources

Halleck, Thomas 2014, ‘Snapchat Hack: Snapsaved Claims Responsibility For ‘Snappening’ Nude Photo Scandal, But Questions Remain’, International Business Times, 13 October, viewed 22 October 2014, <http://www.ibtimes.com/snapchat-hack-snapsaved-claims-responsibility-snappening-nude-photo-scandal-questions-1703992&gt;.

Reader, Ruth 2014, Snapchat blames users of ‘illegal third-party apps’ for nude photo hack, Venture Beat, weblog post, 10 October, viewed 22 October 2014, < http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/10/snapchat-responds-to-nude-photo-hack-passes-blame-to-users/&gt;.

2014, ‘Timeline of the Celebrity Nude Photo Leak–Everything You Need to Know’, Glamour Page, 3 September, viewed 22 October 2014, <http://www.glamourpage.com/timeline-of-the-celebrity-nude-photo-leak-everything-you-need-to-know/>.

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