The combination of increasingly sophisticated smartphones and the World Wide Web is becoming more and more of an enforced necessity in a community that prides itself in its connectivity. For a lot of people, the Internet is a vast wonder of space that devours everything and leaves nothing—or so they think. But for those who have been exposed to online slander, scandals, and nude photo leaks, it is a grave of memories best forgotten.
Take, for example, the recent nude photo leaks of Hollywood stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. Their photos were hacked from their iCloud accounts. Apple touts its cloud service as a secure avenue to store files and photos but these events prove otherwise. Sometimes you can’t really be certain if they are secure or not, so you need to take the necessary precautions.
1. Password protection. Passwords are your first line of defense but sometimes these are so easily figured out. You use codes ranging from your SO’s initials down to puppy birthdays. It would help to have a complex set of passwords that contain upper and lowercase alphanumeric characters. A combination of your relatives’ birthday, perhaps, and the names you’d give your future kids. Also, you shouldn’t give away the answers to security questions such as the names of your pets or your high school. Pick the harder question and don’t tell your life story on Facebook. We’re so over that period.
2. Enable two-factor authentication. Google has this. Paypal has this. Tumblr. Twitter. Facebook. You name it and these big sites have it. If you don’t want strangers successfully accessing your most private photos, at least make the effort to use two-step verification. This feature would have you logging in with your password and then it will send you a code to your phone that you will input in the verification page to login successfully. (Side note: If you really don’t want anyone touching your device and its contents, do it the Irene Adler way. Enter the wrong passcode would make your device self-destruct.)
3. Disable auto uploading on cloud services. Okay there’s iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and a whole lot of other services that gives you the option to auto upload images. Auto uploading offers you convenience of not having to manually backup. But the downside is it puts EVERYTHING online. And you know what they say about the Internet: whatever’s been put on the Internet stays there forever—much like a fossil of your foolishness.
4. If you must absolutely use auto uploads, choose the photos you’re going to share. It’s a matter of self-preservation. Make a conscious effort to prevent photos which you deem as harmful for your future or to someone else’s future from making it to the Web. Choose. Delete. Do it properly. Now repeat. Also, believe in karma and that everything comes at a price. Like every service offered for free, there will always be a catch. You have to understand what it really means to be secure in this era of connectivity and passive-aggressive sharing.