Hacking Incident Shows Cloud Security Issues

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 09/02 2014 11:57PM

Updated 09/03 2014 12:18AM

The cloud is a central location for data used by devices like computers and cell phones. So if you've ever sent an email, text or picture on one of these gadgets, you could be at risk for someone looking at your information even if you think it is deleted.

"I think what all people, but especially young people, need to realize is that all of our digital communications, whether they're on a phone, a tablet, a computer - these things really aren't written in pencil," says Ryan Thomas, a Penn State law student applying for jobs.  "They're written in permanent ink."

Thomas says it frightens him that anyone could potentially hack into a system to see everything he has ever sent to everyone.

"You have to be cognizant of anything you send out into that digital sphere," says Thomas.  "If it's on a dropbox or cloud service or anything like that, someone with enough time and resources will be able to access that."

"It shows a vulnerability," says John Hannan, an associate professor for computer science engineering at Penn State.  "People maybe are led into a false sense of security when there are potential for these things to be hacked."

Hannan says the most recent hacking incident should serve as a reminder for users to strengthen their security settings, use a secondary password and filter their accounts.

"Typically you can very specifically control what you allow to go onto the Cloud," says Hannan.  "Do you want your mail on the Cloud? Do you want all your pictures on the Cloud? You should be able to control that."

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