For marketing naysayer who continues to denounce the possibility of anyone wanting to steal company or client data, perhaps the most recent Apple iCloud hack will convince them otherwise. Granted, the hacker shared nude photo of Hollywood celebrities, rather than consumer data, but the event should serve as reminder that cloud storage still isn't entirely secure. The technology is too new.
Apple denies iCloud was breached in the celebrity photo leak that made public nude images of more than a half-dozen women like Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Upton, Lea Michele and Kirsten Dunst.
On Tuesday, Apple in a statement said the hackers staged a "very targeted attack" on specific celebrity accounts using user names, passwords and security questions. "None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved," per Apple.
Targeted breaches are just as likely to occur at media companies trying to protect customer data. The probability of a data breach at a media company within the next 24 months is 0.197, per a joint study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM released in May. The public sector has the highest probability of a data breach at 0.238, followed by retail at 0.227.
The total average cost of a data breach rose from $5.4 million in 2013 to $5.9 million this year, per the joint study.
The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information rose from $188 in 2013 to $201 in 2014. More than 500 individuals from 61 U.S. companies were polled for the report over a ten-month period.
Cloud-based back-ups are a useful tool, and nude photos of celebrities are not the only hot commodity among hackers. As Stefanie Smith points out, "hackers could have gained access to celebrity email and password combinations through breaches like the recent eBay breach or Heartbleed, which affected nearly two-thirds of all websites, including Yahoo Mail, OKCupid and WeTransfer."