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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2014



It is a rare celebrity who dreads exposure. But the computer hackers who broke into Apple’s iCloud platform to steal intimate photos, emails, and phone contacts of celebrities have brought new attention to the problem.

The FBI is investigating the theft of nude photos from what was supposed to have been be the protected iCloud account of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence’s photos were deposited on an anonymous image-sharing site where the public has unrestricted access.

As many as 100 celebrities have had their iCloud accounts compromised by determined hackers. They are believed to have taken advantage of a back door in Apple’s “Find My iPhone” app to infiltrate and raid the image-storing platform.

That back door has since been closed. But the fix comes too late for many users who once believed that cloud-based platforms added an extra layer of security that was practically impregnable.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that once photos are uploaded, a determined thief or voyeur can get at them. Still, it isn’t enough to tell celebrities or anyone else to stop uploading photos of themselves to the cloud. The crime is the theft, not the storage.

It’s important that platforms such as iCloud update their security protocols. Apple and its competitors should also level with the public: There is no such thing as privacy in cyberspace.

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