APPLE is to step up security to prevent hackers accessing user accounts in the wake of a celebrity photo scandal.
The iPhone maker also plans to encourage users to take stricter measures to protect their accounts after nude images of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities were stolen. The pictures were taken from individual accounts, rather than through a broader attack on the company’s services.
Apple will now alert users through e-mail and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time, said chief executive Tim Cook.
The move comes to restore confidence in the company’s security ahead of the launch of its hotly anticipated iPhone 6. They plan to broaden the use of a “two-factor authentication” security system to avoid future intrusions.
Two-factor authentication requires a user to have two of three things to access an account, which may include a password, a separate four-digit code, or a long-access key given to the user on signing up for the service.
-ed the attacks that emerged over the US Labour Day weekend on celebrities’ iCloud accounts were individually targeted and that none of the cases it investigated had resulted from a failing of its own systems.
The iCloud service allows users to store photos and other content and access it from any Apple device. Security in the cloud – on companies’ servers, rather than users’ individual devices – has been a paramount concern in past years.
Some security experts have faulted Apple for failing to make its devices and software easier to secure via two-factor authentication.
Apple could also do more to advertise that option, they said.
Most people do not bother with security measures because of the extra hassle, experts say.
Matt Johansen, a threat management expert at WhiteHat Security, said: “The usability battle will always be there but could you ever imagine using your debit card at an ATM and not entering a pin?
“That’s two-factor – you have (a card) and something you know (a pin) – and we all get along just fine.”
Meanwhile, fans have already began queueing to get their hands on the new iPhone 6.
Moon Ray, 25, and her husband Jason, 29, arrived in New York City from their home town of Jackson, Mississippi on 1 September, and discovered that they were not the first.
Cousins Joseph Cruz and Brian Ceballo from Statten Island, New York, had beaten them to it by one day. However, they happily accepted £1,500 to switch places.
The phone’s release date and design are a closely guarded secret but it is rumoured that Apple will finally unveil it on Tuesday. Mr Ray said: “We take turns going to the bathroom and washing and working out at the gym nearby. We only sleep a couple of hours a night – I brought a tent but cried when they told me I couldn’t use it.”
Mr Cruz, now third in the queue, is a veteran at waiting for Apple products and has spent many hours over the last four years outside their stores. Mr Ray added: “People think we’re crazy.”