iCloud Hacking Tool Highlights the Need for Stronger Passwords

Barely a week into the New Year, hackers have already managed to stir news. Apple’s iCloud service was (reportedly) exploited by a hacker who used iDict, a hacking tool released online on New Year’s Day. iDict used a hole in Apple’s security to guess passwords by way of brute force. The hacker, known as Pr0x13, claimed that “the bug is painfully obvious and was only a matter of time before it was privately used for malicious or nefarious activities”. Fortunately, Apple was fast to act and shut down the hacking tool. 

Apple’s security has taken a beating for last year’s iCloud celebrity leak, however, users still continue to use weak passwords despite countless warnings. Passwords are an important security aspect on everyone’s digital life. As such, managing them, no matter how tedious it is, should be done more than ever, especially now that passwords, including passphrases can be brute forced. With the recent hack attacks such as Sony, and the iCloud celebrity hack, users should rethink their security and start paying attention to regularly keeping their cloud data in check.

To kick off the year right, here are a few tips on how you can secure your passwords right:

  • Use phrases, not words – believe it or not, hackers probably know your birthdate or your mom’s name already, therefore using them is like serving your password on a silver platter. Use phrases instead of words that are easy to guess. But avoid phrases that refer to pop culture like movies, songs, or books, rather, try something unique, creative, and even nonsensical. Just make sure you can remember them. 
  • Don’t recycle passwords – essentially, this means that using the same password for multiple sites lead would-be hackers to “known” passwords and use it to crack other accounts.  
  • Use two-factor authentication – in case your passwords are hacked, this barrier will block the hacker before they gain access. Many high-profile companies have adopted the two-factor authentication, so check whether the site you use supports it.

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