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Should you continue to trust iCloud?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard that some celebrities had their iCloud accounts hacked and naked pictures of themselves made available on the Internet. I’m sure that many of you who use iCloud for backing up your iPhone, iPad and/or Mac are wondering if your data is safe and whether or not you should continue to trust iCloud.

Apple investigated the situation and determined that the reason those particular celebrity accounts were hacked was due mostly to weak passwords. That’s not surprising. But there is a portion of blame that falls upon Apple. A part of Apple’s security system allowed for a brute-force attack where the hacker tries different passwords over and over until they get in or give up. Smarter systems only allow so many attempts within a certain amount of time and then lock you out temporarily or permanently. I have no doubt that Apple is fast at work adding that feature.

But what about your data? Was it safe? Is it safe? Hacking, for the most part, is a business. Hacker’s don’t do it for the fun of it. They do it to gain something of value. Photos of celebrities baring is all have value. I’m sorry to have to tell you this but photos of you in the buff probably aren’t worth as much. Your contacts, appointments, reminders, notes, and photos, basically just about anything you likely store in iCloud are not worth much. Unless you are keeping credit card numbers or other sensitive information in your Notes app, it’s not very likely a hacker would bother attempting to break into your iCloud account.

What is far, far more likely to happen if you’re not backing up regularly is your iPhone or iPad will be lost or damaged and data that is worthless to a hacker but extraordinarily valuable to you, will be lost forever. John Gruber of Daringfireball wrote that he’s talked to former Apple Genius Bar employees who have quit their jobs because they just can’t handle becoming a bereavement counselors when the customer discovers their valuable photos, contacts, and appointments are lost forever. iCloud makes it so easy to have all this data backed up, it seems foolish not to do it.

So should you continue to trust iCloud? Yes, I think you should. Apple is certainly strengthening their security and your iCloud data is probably worthless to a hacker.