Apple will bolster iCloud security, says CEO

September 5th 2014

In a sequel to events earlier this week when nude photos of celebrities alleged to have been stolen from iCloud accounts were published online by hackers, Apple has said that it will improve iCloud security after intimate pictures of celebrities were stolen and published online.

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In his first interview on the issue, Chief Executive Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal that the iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers correctly answered security questions to obtain the passwords … or from phishing scams, and that none of the IDs and passwords leaked from the company's servers.

He added, however, that in an attempt to avoid repetition of such incidents, Apple will alert users via email 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. He anticipates that this will start to happen in about two weeks' time.

Mr Cook told the Wall Street Journal "When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece. I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."

He also responded to criticism that the company had not focused enough on the security of its products by referencing Touch ID, the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor which can be used to unlock the phone and authorise purchases. Mr Cook added that its two-factor authentication will be enhanced. This requires three things to access an account: password, separate four-digit IN, or a long access key provided on sign-up. Two of these steps are required to be completed to sign into and iTunes account from a new device when the feature is activated. It will also cover access to iCloud accounts from a mobile device with the release of the next version of iOS, due later this month.

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