iCloud was hacked?

The tech issue of the year 2014 must surely be security. Corporations and individuals were famously hacked, often with painful and public results.

Celebrities and iCloud

So was iCloud actually hacked? The short answer is no. There were a lot of lurid, sensational stories a few months ago about the celebrity photos that were taken from iCloud. Yes, those photos were stolen. But the thieves didn't break into iCloud by hacking the system. They didn't even have to try. They simply knew the passwords or answered the security questions correctly. Consider this: If an actor's favourite food is lasagna, how hard would it be to Google that information?

Whether or not the system should have made things more difficult for the thieves is a well debated point on tech blogs. Apple could have limited the number of attempted responses to a security question, but apparently it didn't. The basic question in this debate is one of security versus convenience.

What can we learn?

The lesson for us here is that all parts of the security process for online accounts are important. Specifically, answers to security questions should never be obvious, and must always be stored somewhere safe. An example question: Name of your first pet? Answer: I adore eating pomegranate. (In fact you don't.) Create a good answer like you do a good password.

How do you keep track of such a forgettable answer? By storing it in 1Password of course. Or in a well hidden notebook, but how useful is that?