Believe it or not, having your iCloud storage hacked is not just something that happens to celebrities. Although, you could be forgiven for thinking so. Over the weekend, we were informed that Pippa Middleton, sister to the Duchess of Cambridge (Princess Kate), has recently had her iCloud account hacked and thousands of pics – including lots of Kate, George and Charlotte – stolen.

Just last week, ‘up and coming’ Aussie YouTube sensation turned singer Troye Sivan had nude pics hacked from his iCloud account, courtesy of hackers.

And who can forget celebgate – the big iCloud hack of 2014 in which almost 100 celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton had their ‘private’ photos hacked from their iCloud accounts and then posted on various websites and social networks.

So, what hope is there for the humble citizen like you and me? How can we possibly stay ahead of the hackers and keep our iCloud storage and digital assets private?

1. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

Using a very distinct password that you change regularly is the most powerful thing you can do to keep your online life safe. However, the majority of us still use either ‘password’ or ‘123456’! Why not use a phrase? But please always include a number, capital and symbol – the more random the better!
If remembering a list of unique passwords is just too hard – of course it is! – then why not consider a password manager. The True Key App by McAfee will help you manage all your passwords without the need to remember any! Phew!

2. Use Multi-factor Verification To Sign Into iCloud

This is a no-brainer. Multiple-step verification adds another level of security to your Apple accounts. And it is super easy to do. After entering your nominated password, it will send a unique code to another of your pre-nominated Apple devices. This code then needs to be entered before you can gain access to your accounts. To set this up, visit the Apple Site.

3. Don’t Share Personal Information Online

The information you share across all your social media accounts provides hackers with clues about your passwords and your habits. So, keep your information tight.

4. Protect Your Email Address

Your iCloud account is only as safe as the email address you use to login. If hackers get access to your email, they can then use it to reset your iCloud passwords and more. So, choose a unique and strong password and change it regularly – or use that TrueKey password manager! And always add a second rescue email address to your account so that if your primary email account does get hacked, you can still retain control over your Apple ID and iCloud account.

5. Disable Automatic Update

When you save pics to your iPhone, they are automatically uploaded to the iCloud server. Whilst this ensures they won’t be lost, it also means they are accessible on all your devices, increasing the chances of them being hacked. So, if you’d rather keep the photos only on your phones then disable the Photo Stream feature of iCloud via the settings menu – it will take 5 seconds.

And at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious – rethink what you decide to share online. If the thought of strangers seeing your personal photos or private information makes you feel nauseous then don’t put them anywhere online. Invest in a hard drive – or maybe find another hobby!