A major hack that led to the release of intimate photos of celebrities resurfaced again in 2017 dubbed the Fappening 2.0.
In this article, we look at the event and what it can teach us about personal cybersecurity.
What is the Fappening 2.0?
In 2014, a major leak occurred that included several intimate photographs of celebrities and other known people. The unfortunate event repeated itself in 2017, leaking private photos of hundreds of celebrities.
Fappening 2.0, also known as Celebgate 2.0, started with the circulation of private photos of Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried on the dark web. Later, these images found their way to 4Chan and then to Reddit. According to a report by Softpedia, the Fappening 2.0 affected several dozen other celebrities.
Rose McGowan (actress), Paige (WWE star), Katie Cassidy (actress), Alyssa Arce (model), Rhona Mitra (actress), Analeigh Tipton (figure skater & actress), Kristanna Loken (actress), April Love Geary (model), Iliza Shlesinger (comedian), and Lili Simmons (actress) were among the victims.
Just like the first Fappening event, these images were stolen by targeting cloud accounts containing pictures of these celebrities.
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One of the hackers arrested concerning Fappening 1.0, Edward Majerczyk, revealed the method through which he obtained these pictures. According to Majerczyk, he sent phishing emails to his victims that appeared to be security messages from Internet Service Providers.
The Department of Justice reported that “Majerczyk accessed at least 300 accounts, and at least 30 accounts belonging to celebrities” from November 2013 to August 2014.
Anyone could be in this situation due to the general lack of security consciousness among internet users.
The rest of this article looks at measures we can take to avoid being victims of hackers.
What the Fappening Can Teach You About Cybersecurity
People use the internet for several things, and one of them is to share private information like photos. However, sending private information across the internet is risky without the appropriate protection.
When you share information, the protection of the data depends on the parties you share them with. This is very true for private content usually shared among couples. Your other half is required to protect the data as much as you do to prevent loopholes that can be exploited by bad actors.
One of the effective ways to ensure security on both ends is to use applications that exist for the private exchange of information.
Chat applications like Signal and Telegram (secret chat feature) provide better security for intimate conversations.
Signal is a privacy-centric messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption by default. Moreover, Signal doesn’t store any message metadata or use the cloud to backup messages like What’s App.
Using this application for general chats, especially private chats, is a better option than using most apps. For instance, the European Commission asked staff to move all instant communication to Signal in February 2020.
Telegram Secret Chats
Telegram’s secret chat is popular among young people for intimate conversations. This feature is different from regular chats and requires you to start a new “secret chat” conversation with people to use it.
Secret chat uses end-to-end encryption by default and leaves no trace on Telegram servers. Also, you can’t message forwarding from secret chats, and you are informed of any screenshots or screen recordings done by the other party.
More Steps to Protect Your Privacy
Beyond using private chat platforms, there are other steps to take to ensure that your private data is protected.
Avoid Auto Backup of Photos on Cloud
Do not backup intimate photos on the cloud. In most cases, you do not intentionally save these photos or videos to the cloud as back up to cloud storage is mostly automatic.
To avoid saving unwanted photos to your cloud storage, disable automatic backups, or frequently check your cloud storage application to remove unwanted images permanently.
Use Strong Passwords
Always us strong passwords set for your personal accounts like email and social networks.
A strong password can not be guessed easily based on your personal information. Also, avoid using the same password for all accounts on the internet.
Additionally, a second layer of security makes it more difficult for hackers to access your accounts. Two-factor authentication (2FA) and security device keys are excellent tools to protect your most important accounts.
Don’t Fall for Phishing Emails
It is unlikely that you have not yet received phishing emails given their prevalency today. Most are easy to recognize as they are obviously not from a real service provider. However, hackers are getting more and more sophisticated.
To ensure you don’t fall for a phishing email, avoid clicking on links in emails and do not download attachments. Unless you are expecting an email from service provider, it is better to access the platforms directly. And not through links in an email.
The Bottom Line
The burden to keep yourself safe on the internet starts with you. Something like the Fappening could happen to you too if you fail to take personal cybersecurity seriously.
If you decide to keep private information online, make sure you take the neccessary steps to ensure that bad actors can’t access it.
More importantly, if you want to be sure that private pictures cannot leak online, you simply shouldn’t take any.
You should also read our article on the Top 5 Privacy Tools You Can Use To Protect Yourself Online.