On the heels of this weekend’s celebrity nude photo leak, users of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) products around the world have expressed concern over the security of information stored in the company’s iCloud data servers. Observers in the tech industry pointed to what appeared to be a security breach iCloud data server, a concern that many Chinese users have been wary of since the announcement of the first iCloud center on mainland China.
The image dump has consumed social media and media coverage, with many asking how the mass hacking happened. As celebrities, media, and even the FBI weigh in on the security and privacy violation, Apple has remained silent. Today, Apple said in a statement that an internal investigation by engineers discovered “certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions.” In other words, according to Apple this was not a large-scale attack on an Apple system like iCloud.
Still, this hasn’t done much to quell the concerns of China’s iCloud users, most of whom will be using Apple’s first China-based data center. The new data center is a joint operation between Apple and one of China’s largest state-owned telecommunications companies, China Telecom Corporation Ltd. The heavy involvement of China Telecom in the data server raised concerns among Chinese users over data privacy and security protection from government Internet authorities and censors, when it was announced earlier in August.
Apple responded by saying in a statement that all data stored would be encrypted, saying specifically that “China Telecom does not have access to the content.” Apple’s security was generally regarded as consistently reliable, but the recent attack has revived concerns for Chinese users.
On popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, news of the celebrity nude photo leak also made the rounds like it did on Twitter and Reddit, with many people expressing concern over their own privacy.
“I honestly don’t recommend that Apple users use the iCloud to store information or photos,” William Long, a popular tech blogger, advised his followers. “If you must use it though, use the iCloud recommended two-step verification.”
“Security is a critical issue of cloud storage,” he also wrote in the post, saying that Dropbox currently offers what he thinks is the most secure cloud storage, even if it has a smaller capacity than iCloud and is reportedly slower.
Many Weibo bloggers have become vocal about not being optimistic about iCloud’s security, especially since their servers will be located in China.
“Isn’t the iCloud data and China Telecom partnership just playing with fire?” asked another user, who also said he would be getting rid of his iPhone altogether.
“I was told that iCloud was to back up extremely important things because it is the most secure network. Well, I guess not, time to just buy a regular backup hard drive.”