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DATA NEVER DIES IN THE CLOUD

liz gunnBy Liz Gunn || Another data breach, this time from Apple, has allowed a hacker (or hackers) access to hundreds of intimate celebrity photos. Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Upton are just a few of the celebs on the list of those targeted. Pictures were accessed via celebrities’ iCloud accounts, although it’s still unclear exactly how they were able to get in.

The most disturbing part of this breach is that one actress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Final Destination) said her photos in question were deleted from her account years ago. Therefore, if you have ever taken an indecent photo of yourself or someone else, just know that it’s not necessarily gone. That’s comforting, right?

I used to live by the phrase “Don’t ever put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want to explain to your grandmother or your boss.” I guess now the same goes for picture taking.

I take pictures of everything. If I see something funny, I snap it. It doesn’t matter if it’s something written on a bathroom stall or someone parading around the tailgate in a terrible outfit. I feel like it needs to be captured.

I know it’s easy for people to say “well if you don’t want your pictures leaked, then you shouldn’t have taken them”, but is that really the right answer? Forgive me for thinking that on my personal device, through my personal service plan and my personal storage account (all of which I pay for, personally) I should be afforded the convenience and security of having personal photos.

Many people believe that no one, even regular citizens like you and me, should have any reasonable expectation of privacy in today’s world. If this is true, why do most people go to great lengths and often great expense to protect their privacy? Password upon password, for every single thing you do these days, but I shouldn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to data?

In all honesty, having my iCloud account hacked isn’t something that will keep me up at night. I’m not a “person of interest” to legitimate hackers. And they would be sorely disappointed to only find thousands of pictures of a really adorable baby.

Although as a mom, this is just as frightening– the thought of some creep pilfering pictures of my child! What steps, if any, do you take to keep your personal and private data secure?

Here are a few tips from Geek Squad on some very basic things you can and should do.

-Use proactive software protection. Anti-malware software is a basic requirement for initial protection on all computers.

-Viruses and spyware can creep into your computer and easily degrade performance and corrupt or even destroy data.

-Use a firewall. Firewalls assist in blocking dangerous programs, viruses or spyware before they infiltrate your system. Various software companies offer firewall protection, but hardware-based firewalls, like those frequently built into network routers, provide a better level of security.

-Be cautious of suspicious emails from unknown sources. Don’t open emails with attachments if you don’t know the sender.

-Steer clear of websites of ill repute. These are havens for malicious and annoying intruders like spyware.

-Keep your operating system updated. Repair the security holes that hackers love to exploit with the newest critical updates from Microsoft or Apple.

Liz Gunn is a wife, mom, author, businesswoman, travel enthusiast, food snob, fashionista, lover of great wine and the No. 1 Gamecock football fan … ever. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.