For those who have been offline since the weekend: Apple iCloud was breached and nude photos of high profile celebrities were revealed to the world. Celebrities such as Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Arianna Grande, Victoria Justice ,and Selena Gomez are just some of the celebs to be exposed (pun totally intended).
The iCloud Hack is a big blow for Apple and could not have come at a worse time. Just days before Apple is rumoured to reveal the much anticipated iPhone 6 (or iWatch) this hack has shocked the iFans who are deer-in-the-headlight-bewildered. Even more problematic is that Apple is about to reveal its mobile payment system which relies heavily on security and integrity of the network and systems. User confidence is shattered.
The hacker has shown various other “folders” that he/she has access to and so we can expect a Snowden-type of gradual leaks of more embarrassing photos. But the iCloud also holds other data such as documents, and there is no telling just how much the hackers managed to get and from which accounts.
Apple has released a statement distancing itself from the attack saying that they are shocked and take user’s privacy seriously and that the iCloud itself is secure:
“we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved. “
Apple maintains that the hacker managed to get into the information by hacking the individual celebrities accounts and using those accounts to access other account and eventually the iCloud pics. This is known as “daisy-chain” attack.
“I TOLD YOU SO” – BlackBerry
In all this mayhem, BlackBerry is quietly grinning resisting the urge to scream “I TOLD YOU SO”.
So while the original BlackBerry user has moved on probably as a result of a bad experience with BlackBerry 7 device,the one thing BlackBerry does best and has been doing for years, is provide a secure end-to-end encrypted platform. Privacy and security are not items that BlackBerry slaps on top of their operating system but it is core to it and the entire eco system is designed from the ground up based on those principles. The Mobile Device Management has also been extended to other operating system so a company can now deploy secure system via the BlackBerry console to devices such as Apple and Android. I spoke to Mr. Nader Henein, BlackBerry’ Regional Director of Advance Security Solutions, Advisory Division in March 2014 where we discussed BlackBerry’s security and he said that “We built BlackBerry on two fundamentals: No compromise on security and no compromise on user experience”. This has lead to the birth of Blackberry’s Enterprise Service with its Balance feature.
In July, BlackBerry has also announced their purchase of Scusmart which is going to protect its 250 million BES customers by encrypting not only the data but also the voice calls.
BlackBerry customers include all G7 governments, 16 of the G20 governments, 10 out of 10 of the largest global enterprises in each of the pharmaceutical, legal and automotive industries, and the five largest oil and gas companies. BlackBerry has more security certifications than any other vendor and is the only mobility solution to receive “Full Operational Capability” (FOC) approval to run on U.S. Department of Defense networks.
Chatter among people who were thinking of switching away from BlackBerry are now rethinking their decision. People who are NOT on BlackBerry, should be rethinking their decision too but regardless of which system people use, the golden rules of security still applies – weak password, makes you vulnerable. Simple as that.
BlackBerry should offer the effected celebrities the new BlackBerry 10 devices so they can snap away their pics in complete confidence. Until then, the best Tweet to summarise the mood came from Kirsten Dunst:
ps. I wonder if Apple would now pay a couple of billion Dollars for BlackBerry technology ?