Is your personal information safe?

Updated: 09/02/2014 11:14 PM
Created: 09/02/2014 9:45 PM WHEC.com

It's a scary thought for anyone, to have your cell phone or your personal information hacked, but that’s become a reality for a long list of well-known celebrities.

Apple said on Tuesday that their accounts were deliberately targeted and hacked, leading to the posting of nude photos online. The company says there was not a general breach of its systems, which includes the iCloud.

But in the digital age where we’re all connected, experts say we are all equally at risk. The idea of people trying to get your information is nothing new, it has just evolved with technology, and while we may not be targeted like those celebrities, we can all learn a lesson about how much personal information a phone puts out there.

“You need to have different passwords on every service,” said Steve Rea said.

Rea is a computer systems engineer and an Apple certified technician. He says people don’t realize how much information your phone or tablet can give out. If someone steals or hacks into them, right away they have your personal information.

“They have your name, your address and your phone number. Well, now they can fill out a credit card application, they can get your email address, they can try your Amazon, PayPal, Sears account and they can try to get to the accounts that have your credit cards on them,” said Rea.

You may be thinking ‘How would they do that if they don’t have my password?’

Rea says it doesn’t take long to get that too.

“Most services have a ‘forgot password’ link where it emails you your password, or better yet a link to change your password. If someone has your email they can change it to something they want,” Rea said.

And some people we spoke to say they keep this in mind when using their phone.

“I basically use my iPhone as a flip phone. I don’t have it linked to anything,” said one cell phone user.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t fall victim? Rea says it comes down to two things: a strong, lengthy password and hard security questions.

“One of the tips we give is when your setting those security questions you should lie. What is your favorite color - Ford. You have to remember how you lied. Ok, your favorite color is blue. You had a blue Ford, so Ford is the answer,” said Rea.

When the report of the leaked photos came out, everyone was concerned it was an iCloud breach. We now know that wasn’t the case, but we did ask Rea if the iCloud can be trusted. Rea says, again, it goes back to how strong your password is, but he warns you can’t control it, and you can’t trust anything completely that you can’t control.

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