Monday 9 December 2019

Watch this ‘cloud’ space: The next time it could be your info getting hacked

Leak: Private personal snaps of Jennifer Lawrence emerged online this week
Leak: Private personal snaps of Jennifer Lawrence emerged online this week
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

So, here’s what ‘cloud’ means to me: heavy and dark, I’ll need to take in the washing; fluffy and white, I can go out for a walk.

Here’s what ‘icloud’ means to me: nothing. Nada, zilch, zip. Don’t understand it, don’t want to. ‘Internet thingy which stores stuff’ is about the best definition I can come up with; any more and I’ll nod off. I don’t own any iProducts but that may not mean anything.

Of course, I may have inadvertently used it to manage files or received documents through it – who knows? I’m fairly certain that if any of them can be accessed they’ll be so dull that the hackers are welcome to the contents.

Lucky I’m not a celebrity like Jennifer Lawrence who found herself in some particularly stormy weather this week. 

The Hunger Games actress is a gorgeous young woman who, for whatever reason, took some pictures of herself naked (or had them taken) on her iPhone, stored them to the eponymous ‘cloud’, before deleting them. 


They have now resurfaced on a public internet site for some people’s  titillation. She’s one of 100 celebs allegedly involved, including Avril Lavigne, Kirsten Dunst and Rihanna.

It appears on examination that the hacker(s) employed a password searcher to randomly access the phones of famous people. 

I expect celebrities, no more than the rest of us, don’t have the mental storage capacity to maintain dozens of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols for each of the accounts we have.

Just like us, I imagine they use their kids’ names, house numbers and birthdays.  But when you’re well known, this kind of stuff is presumably easier to find out than it is about you or me.

Admittedly, I mightn’t know much about the ‘How’ of all this, but two things seem certain: if any image of you exists on digital format anywhere, or of your family, or your pets or your home, it might as well be everywhere. 

And if you are of sufficient interest to the general public you can be sure it will turn up where you least want it to.

I should know more about all this of course, because which of us with a Facebook or Instagram account shouldn’t be a little worried about photos we hadn’t intended for general viewing (say, our kids in the bathtub or fooling around in swimsuits on holidays), being accessed by a far wider audience?

I’m already unsettled by the number of strangers who get to see my photos merely by them being ‘liked’ or ‘tagged’ or other things I also don’t really understand.

The ‘Why’ is a little more complex.  So far, there doesn’t appear to be an out-pouring of naked images of men anywhere worth accessing for instance, celebrity or otherwise. It is only nubile young women that are in demand, and, it would also seem, by just as many women as men. 

Secondly, the internet is hardly shy and retiring when it comes to pictures of naked women – you can already see millions of them any which way at the click of a mouse. 


So why is it that a well-known woman, be she actress, singer or an unspecified talent, like Kim Kardashian, merit our particular interest?

And where do we go with this when it comes to the non-celebrities in our lives – our children? Do stories like this actually provide a cheap lesson for teenage girls who fancy snapping themselves in the nip for the craic?

I think, rather than decrying the story and wringing our hands we should ‘Favourite’ it, ‘Retweet’ it and ‘Post’ it. 

It could be us next time. Maybe in a more mundane, but no less intrusive way.

Online Editors

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