Nearly anyone with an Apple gadget like an iPad, iPhone or Macintosh computer automatically has a subscription to Apple's cloud-based backup system, the iCloud. But as last week's celebrity photo hacking scandal so vividly showed, not everyone is sure of what exactly is in their cloud. So what could hackers learn about you from your iCloud account - IF they were able to break in?
Hacking is usually a fairly vague term. That's because it's nearly impossible to explain how a hacker cracked an account by systematically testing every possible method for exploiting the server that he or she could come up with.
The latest celebrity nude-stealing iCloud hack is different - almost scarier - because it was done mostly with police-grade snoopware. Elcomsoft is a company that sells the "iOS Forensic Toolkit" and a password breaker meant for any Apple mobile devices.
To see just how much information the iCloud hackers found, author Sean Gallagher picked up the software for himself and tested it on some family members and friends. I'm hoping he asked them first, because what he found is terrifying.
Anyone who uses an Elcomsoft program to snoop into your phone will find:
- Text messages
- Phone history
- A list of every Wi-Fi hotspot you've ever used
- Facebook contacts, addresses, emails and phone numbers of all your friends
- Deleted photos
- Addresses searched for in Apple Maps
- Voicemail data including numbers and times
The scariest part of all of that is the potential for hackers to track your everyday movements. With a list of Wi-Fi hotspots that you visit, your Apple map searches and Facebook information, hackers could steal your identity or track you in any number of ways.
Not only that, but identity theft and Elcomsoft's iOS snoopware seem like they'd go together like white on rice. Dump a phone, enter the personal info and boom: that's another identity stolen. Crime shouldn't be that easy, and stealing photos from what's supposed to be a secure cloud storage location shouldn't be either.