Nostalgic Rumblings
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9/2/2014


FBI, Apple probe Jennifer Lawrence nude photo scandal

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:18 pm

From CNN: FBI, Apple probe Jennifer Lawrence nude photo scandal

Ok, a word or three here about the real problem: cloud storage.

Folks like Steve Wozniak have been warning for years that “the cloud” isn’t to be trusted…while the idea that easy synchronization of data between devices is an awesome one, it implies we need to trust the service that is holding and syncing our data. This week, it was pretty clear we can’t; a simple programming error, coupled with weak passwords, allowed for celebrity data to be stolen. While admittedly the titillating photographs of celebs nude is what is making the news, photos of children, information on security systems, possibly even financial data and passwords to other, important websites may have been included in the script-kiddy hack, which makes this all pretty darned serious.

For “regular” folks like you and me, it’s unlikely our nude photographs will be appearing on the web, but we are doing more and more that requires web access, and many of you are still using simple, easily-guessed passwords, coupled with providing legitimate information to those “security” questions, which anyone close to you would be able to answer. Anything that is easy for you to remember is easy for the bad guys to guess.

But there’s one more frightening part of this…regardless of using a strong password or multi-layer verification, the provider of the service you use has your information unlocked. In some cases (Google), they freely and happily admit they are using the information you provide to advertise to you, while in others (Apple), they try to hide that fact from you (like using the songs you store on your iPod to push other songs and artists). But either way, when you provide a cloud service anything valuable, you are accepting that the service will use that information against you. When these companies say, “Your privacy is important to us…,” they mean, “…because we make a helluva lot of money violating it.” D*mned straight it’s valuable to them!

Personally, I use cloud services for collaboration and storage…heck, I even provide each week’s SummersTime episodes to Radio Once More using a cloud service. Then, that is going to be made public by broadcasting on the station anyway, so I don’t much sweat the privacy violation there. But even for something as simple as cloud-storing a backup of the music I licensed as the SummersTime theme, I use AES-256 encryption coupled with a randomly-generated 20-character password stored in a copy of KeePass protected by a very large pass phrase. No, I honestly don’t trust the cloud service where I’m backing this up (or the NSA, for that matter, but they have the computing power to break even the AES-256 encryption, so we’re all screwed there)…but then, when it comes to my digital stuff, I don’t really trust anyone.

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