Keep Your Data Secure in the Cloud

After the recent iCloud security breach that released private celebrity photos, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your data in the cloud. Apple has released a statement saying that it was not a failure of iCloud or Find My iPhone that resulted in these photos getting out -- it was a deliberate and targeted attack. That being said, here are a few ways you can keep your data more secure online:

Use Strong Passwords

The best thing you can do is use long, random, and strong passwords. These should include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even punctuation marks. The longer the random string of characters, the better. It's also equally important to use a different password for each website or service that you sign into.

Use a Password Vault

Since remembering these long passwords is a nearly impossible feat, a password vault can make this much simpler. Password vaults can not only store passwords, but they can be used to generate safe passwords as well. Most password vaults will autofill the username and password fields for you, making it a very convenient way to use secure passwords. Leo recommends LastPass, which is free on the desktop and just $12 a year for the ability to use the mobile app. Here are a list of password vault options:

Enable Second Factor Authentication

The next important thing to do is enable second factor authentication, aka "two-step verification", whenever possible. This requires your password and another form of identification that you have with you, such as your phone. The site you're logging into will text or call you with a code that you'll then have to enter to log in.

There are also apps like Google Authenticator for iOS and Android that will provide you with a code to log in. You can find information on how to get Google Authenticator and how to set it up at support.google.com.

Find out what sites offer second factor authentication at twofactorauth.org.

Answer "Secret Questions" Incorrectly

Many sites give you the option to set up "secret questions" in case you forget your password. These questions include "mother's maiden name", "street you grew up on", "pet's name", and more.

The problem with this is that someone could figure out these answers if they looked through your social media accounts, or simply Googled for it. If you answer the secret questions with random nonsense, however, no one will be able to guess it. You can keep the answers to these questions stored in LastPass with your passwords.

If you take all of these steps above, it will be much more difficult for someone to gain access to your account. Apple is also taking steps to increase security on their end, like limiting the amount of password attempts allowed to prevent someone from getting access through brute-force. Leo also believes that the attacker responsible for the leaked celebrity photos left enough traces behind that he or she will be caught.