Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not the only company that offers cloud-based services to its customers. And this may hurt the company after the iCloud service got hacked and hundreds of compromising celebrity photos got released onto the Internet.
One of the problems Apple has is that the hack was so widely covered. Some of the celebrities harmed are household names, like Jennifer Lawrence. If her nude photos could be accessed, so, probably, can photos and files of anyone who uses iCloud. Once hackers breach a system and it is vulnerable, the chances of a huge hack become possible. There are a number of examples of this. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) are among them.
One of the strengths of iCloud is that it is marketed as a service for owners of Apple products, including Apple TV. But iCloud works on PCs as well, where it faces stiff competition. Among the most prominent of these is the free Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) OneDrive and Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Cloud Drive. Then there are the independent services like Dropbox, which may go public later this year.
All of the services make claims similar to Dropbox’s:
Even if your phone goes for a swim, your stuff is always safe in Dropbox and can be restored in a snap. Dropbox secures your files with 256-bit AES encryption and two-step verification.
The truth of the matter is that all systems built to hold personal items safely are safe until they are not. The iCloud hack shows that the world’s most prominent consumer electronics company has a current, and possibly future, problem that Apple cannot promise it will solve.
Apple customers can drop iCloud, and they may. The issue these consumers face is where else they might go. As hackers become more successful, the entire personal storage industry is in jeopardy.
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