Don’t Wait for the Next Apple Hack – Get off the Grid Now

13 | By Shah Gilani

There’s no stopping the march of technology.

But are we all marching over a cliff?

Whether it’s photos of nude celebrities hacked from the iCloud, hacked credit cards at Home Depot, hacking attacks on JPMorgan Chase, or the National Security Agency’s hacking all of us, the truth is that we’re all hackable – because we’re all on servers somewhere.

Servers – whether in our own PCs, in our workplace’s IT “closets” or in the “cloud” – provide essential services and hold huge amounts of our important information.

And it doesn’t matter where your server is. If you’re on a server – and you are – you can be hacked…

Apple’s Bad Week

There are many ways we can be hacked, and lots of ways companies and server farms and clouds can be hacked.

According to Apple, the nude celebrity photos stolen from the iCloud didn’t result from a breach of the iCloud (though it did). According to Apple, they were stolen (through the iCloud) from the individual accounts of the celebrities.

Apparently, “brute force” was used to run thousands of possible passwords before coming up with winning entries that yielded access to the stacks of stored photos.

If you’re wondering how the public felt about the breach… well, some of you probably enjoyed the photos. However, a lot of you sold Apple stock yesterday.

The big drop in the stock, traceable to the iCloud hack, comes at nearly the precise moment Apple is likely to introduce its new “mobile wallet” along with the launch of the new iPhone 6.

Talk about bad timing.

Just when we’re supposed to lock ourselves further into the Apple ecosystem and consider giving up our plastic cards for a “secure” mobile wallet, the same iCloud where our digital money and credit will be shepherded… it gets sheared.

Then there’s the Home Depot hack. Though the hack occurred back in April or May, we don’t know much yet, because the DIY retailer isn’t saying much. But it looks like 2,200 stores were affected, which means millions of customers’ data was probably spilled.

Clean up on aisles 7, 8, 9 and 10 – and on the servers.

How big could the HD hack be? Bigger than the Target hack that affected 40 million credit card numbers and compromised 70 million addresses and phone numbers and other personal information.

Even scarier is the recent hack of JPMorgan Chase, only the largest bank in the United States. Who did what? No one is saying, because it’s a bank and there are national implications.

National implications? Yep.

Here’s what the retired four-star Army General Keith B. Alexander, formerly director of the NSA and head of U.S. Cyber Command, had to say. In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Alexander said the JPMorgan Chase hack may have been orchestrated by Russia as a warning to the United States over its Ukraine-related sanctions.

Vladimir Putin‘s message: “If you mess with us, we will undermine your financial system.”

That’s scary.

We know the math whizzes at the NSA, courtesy of hero/traitor Edward Snowden‘s revelations, are hacking everyone here at home. Yeah, that means you and me.

And they’re hacking into our friends’ and allies’ “secure” communications networks. And they’re spying on them in their offices and in their bedrooms – and they’re probably looking at their nude photos, too.

We know it, and now our pissed-off friends know it, too.

There’s hacking going on in “them thar hills,” and big national governments – ours and Russia’s – are behind a lot of it.

All those hills are alive with the sound of hackable humming servers. So, are we all headed over some technology cliff that’s going to land us in some open field where we’re all nude and vulnerable to being terrorized?

It could be.

Storm Clouds Gathering

And just when we thought the cloud was going to be the next big thing, Timothy D. Naegele is speaking up.

In an online comment posted to American Banker‘s Tuesday story about the iCloud breaches, the highly respected financial attorney and former counsel to the Senate Banking Committee wrote, “The cloud is a mistake. No one’s data is safe. It is vulnerable to hackers, terrorists and others. Anyone who tells you differently is mistaken.”

Take this as a warning.

If you can activate or turn on multifactor authentication requirements on your stuff stored on servers, do it. If you have your passwords and/or log-on information stored in any cloud anywhere or on a server at home, take them offline and store them in an old-fashioned paper (remember paper?) notebook.

If you have apps that access and store stuff in the cloud, what’s in that cloud can be traced back to your computer, tablet or cellphone – which may not be such a “smart” phone, after all.

Whatever you can do to make your digital footprint scarce, do it. Get off grid before your own nude photos go online… because I really don’t want to see them.

I’m not talking to you, Kate Upton.

13 Responses to Don’t Wait for the Next Apple Hack – Get off the Grid Now

  1. Celeste Ferenczi says:

    I love your sense of humor!! (I’m not saying I don’t believe that anyone can be hacked- I do. It’s just the way you say things!) Keep it up!

  2. Sammi1960 says:

    I work for one of those TBTF Banks your always speaking about Shah. I process debit card claims for them. I dont do any banking on my phone, I know its the “new wave” but I’m not comfortable with it. And I dont want a credit or denit card with the “smart” chip in it either. I dont want an eWallet account either. Call me old fashioned but a Paypal account is about as modern as I want to get.

    It’s the only way I feel I have some control over my accounts. I’m no Warren Buffett or Edward Snowden, I’m just saying……….

    • ALLAN says:

      Amen to that. The trouble is Paypal is a must for some things, otherwise I would avoid it also. I hate the thought of the ‘cloud’, but now I wonder is it much different to email by Hotmail, & Skype etc? I download ALL my email to Office Outlook, but does that mean it is secure?

      Yep, its nice, but scary for whats ahead.

  3. Jeff P. from Canada says:

    I still remember when the government was trying to break up Microsoft and Bill Gates had a press conference announcing that his company had installed a back door to all Windows software, for the C.I.A.
    The government sort of backed off, and Gates shut up about the back door. But I still remember seeing him on TV making his announcement.
    I also know that it is possible for both computer and cell phone cameras to be hacked so that a hacker can see what is going on where you are.

    • Hayrick says:

      Hi Jeff from Canada – As welI as revealing where you are and also see via the camera I hear that it is possible for a hacker to turn the phone and tablet into a microphone and listen to conversations around you.

      Turn it off and just use it as a messaging and contact system, but be aware it is not private.

  4. randy A says:

    Just wait until the internet of everything gets hooked up and running. When thats hacked everything will come to a stop. Hello Hal.

  5. Sailor Jo says:

    As an IT professional I recommend to my clients to not use any cloud services. Not only that, I recommend to have at best one or two computers with internet access, and these computers should be not networked with the rest of the company. I do not like the idea of BYOD. The weakest link may be the employees but I believe in good treatment and pay and developing loyalty.


    Did anyone really fall for the ‘cloud’ – an electronic warehouse where you could store all your personal & business info because it’s SSSOOOOOO convenient?

    Anyone who fell for that line is a fool. And Timothy D. Naegele seconds this opinion of mine. Many, many others do also.

    My electronic personal & business matters are PERSONAL & PRIVATE. I’m no computer scientist but I keep my electronic info as secure as humanly possible and I keep informed on privacy issues and developments.

    I always suggest others to do the same – unless you WANT anyone to see you nude.

  7. paul sykes says:

    Hacking is chiefly caused by boredom ,not many meaningful jobs for people to do.
    Our old fashioned educational system are turning out zombies by the millions. I was on the team of the Apollo11 1969 moon program etc , I now am sitting on a huge stockpile of technology including smart phones and tablets these paradigm shifts can make our world peaceful and busy again with tons of knowledge to share together….IPO’S too !

  8. joann robinson says:

    Have you thought about going text only…I love and read your articles…but most of the videos are not accessible….and when they are..the videos takr forever to load and play…text article100 percent prefered

  9. conrad stauffer says:

    could you please be more specific on exactly what to do to reduce my on-line, “cloud” footprint? I get the part about not letting my computer store my passwords, I need to enter them “by hand” each time I do anything with my bank account involved, or have anything to do with my brokerage account. ( since it has my bank account # attached to it ) My friends tell me I’m nuts, but I’m worried. Should I deal with my broker with voice communication only….? Oh, and, I don’t have any nude pics, so you can relax! LOL

  10. Brenda says:

    How do I get out of ICloud I’m not very good with computer stuff and have no idea how to do this, I had no space left in iCloud and deleted every message that said I had to buy more then they just sent me an email saying I had more now and they were billing me! When I sent the message back saying who said you could do this and that I did not want it I got no reply! I hate Icloud!

  11. Alvin Cooley says:

    Ditto Joann text only the videos take forever to load or not at all , an I am interested in most of the info but don’t get it all Would like to see it all thanks

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