Note: We know that a fair few of you just clicked this article in the hope of seeing some boobs, and we completely understand. To keep the article on topic we have added more boobs whenever we could make a tangential link. Sorry, not sorry.
On August 31, 2014, Reddit suddenly found itself with 55 thousand new subscribers, drawn like moths to a buzzing neon sign that loudly reads “hot girls here”.
You probably already know what the Fappening is. If you don’t, you are either lying or are Amish, and as we don’t want to exclude our Amish readers, here is a recap:
What Is The Fappening?
The Fappening was a massive leak of nude and compromising photos of A-list female celebrities. These photos are believed to have been stolen from hacked iCloud accounts and caused no small controversy when they hit the web and were shared all around the world.
Reddit, the company, had a crisis of conscience and tried to see how long they could sit on a metaphorical fence. In the same posts Reddit made both arguments for free speech and deploring users who posted and visited the offending subreddits.
It took a full week before Reddit eventually banned r/thefappening and disallowed the posting of the stolen content elsewhere on the site. Morality returned to the internet and the price of tissue-stocks plummeted – except that neither of these things are actually true, as what happens online, stays online forever. Most of the pictures were never actually hosted on Reddit, only linked to from 3rd party image sharing sites and private servers where they continue to be readily be available until this day.
We are not going to link to any of the stolen content, but as we know you came here for boobs…
It Will All Happen Again.
It turns out that there were a heap of unrelated people involved in the hacking of the celebrity iCloud accounts.
Apparently there was an underground trade of nude celebrity photos between various hackers (and those who wanted to pay hackers), for quite some time before the photos were made public. This means that for who knows how long before the Fappening broke the internet (like Kim Kardashian couldn’t), celebrities’ accounts were being actively targeted and broken into without anyone noticing.
So eventually a bunch of the hackers did get caught. One of the hackers was actually a high school teacher in real life and it was discovered that along with numerous celebrity accounts, he had also managed to hack the accounts of several of his female colleagues… and the photo accounts of some female students.
Celebrities Can’t Cry
Celebrities are often treated as not exactly human. If something happens to a famous person, good or bad, it is just sort of seen as happening in some removed, isolated world that doesn’t actually affect the rest of us in any meaningful way.
The reason so many people got right in and got off to the leaked pics is that our big ol’ monkey brains couldn’t see a problem being internet pervs to celebrities, after all, folks such as Kate Upton make a living from being desired, how is it different if the pictures are from a modeling shoot or a hacked iPhone?
Let’s do an experiment.
- Get on a crowded train.
- Look around and find a member of the public who is pleasing to your senses.
- Look said individual directly in the eye and start masturbating furiously.
- Congratulations, you have just committed a sex crime. You have hopefully also found that allusive “difference”.
It Will All Happen Again, And Maybe It Will Happen To You.
It doesn’t matter who you are, but at some point, in your life, most likely without you knowing about it, someone has looked at you and thought “nice”. That person wants to know what you look like naked.
The revelation that one of the Fappening hackers had also hacked the phones of coworkers and kids (kids damn it!), shows that even if your celebrity status is nonexistent, you can still be the target of a hack-attack.
And So, Here Are 10 Steps On How To Not End Up With Your Genitals On The Internet:
#1. Don’t Take Sexy Photos.
It pains us to say this, but the logic is irrefutable: nude photos of you cannot end up on the internet if you don’t take any nude photos in the first place. This should be common sense, but modern dating is so full of new things that there isn’t always room for common sense. (Remember when butt-licker used to be an insult?).
Sometimes the laws of love just demand a sexy snap to warm up those cold nights, and if this is your case, try to send a photo that shows your sex bits in all their glory while keeping your face gracefully absent from the photo. Nude pics sans face are not all that problematic to your reputation if they do leak. After all, up close one butthole looks pretty similar to the next, and you are unlikely to be picked out from a line up unless you are particularly unique.
If your significant other can’t do the mental-photoshop required to associate your face with your base, then send them a headshot separately. The truth is, a body without a face is not all that enamoring and your partner will spend more time looking at the second photo then the first anyway.
And let’s get real, after millions of years of evolution most people can see a pretty face and extrapolate a bangin’ body without any extra data. If the combined minds of the internet got together, they would surely have been able to infer with relative certainty that Jennifer Laurence has two nipples and a gaping dragon’s maw, without needing photo evidence.
#2 Be Careful Of The Cloud
The Fappening hacks were possible by attackers gaining unlawful access to the iCloud accounts of the victims. iCloud is a service provided by Apple in which an iPhone or iPad will backup its data to their cloud servers. This is amazingly useful in cases where you lose your phone, as all the data from the lost phone can be restored from the cloud directly to a new phone.
We 100% recommend that you still DO use a cloud photo backup service.
When asked what item they would grab from their house if it was on fire, most people will say their photo albums. Some people will say their spouse, kids or pets, but these people just don’t understand the game.
Many people value their photo collection more then hard cash or jewelry. A cloud service which backs up and protects your photos in the event of a catastrophe are a really awesome product.
By default, iOS devices will backup photos to iCloud – until of course you use up the included “free” 15GB and are forced to buy more. There are other photo backup products that are also very good. Google Photos for example is free for an unlimited number of photos and you can also install it on your computer and other devices so that they too are backed up to the cloud.
Google in general has a better track record with security than Apple, but no company is impervious to infiltration.
Other photo backup solutions exist; however you should be very careful to examine a services’ security standards comprehensively as there are so many options of varying quality and varying security track records. Facebook used to offer a phone photo sync backup tool, however they retired this product in 2016, as their security is generally atrocious.
Thieves have been caught after they continued to use phones they stole, which unknowingly kept uploading pictures taken by the thieves. You might not know this, but photos you take on your phone also include information such as the GPS location data. When you post a picture you are often sharing more than you realize.
#3 Take Advantage Of Extra Security Options
The iCloud hacks were carried out via three primary methods of attack. The first method was simply due to iCloud having some pretty weak security policies, allowing for passwords to be brute-forced in some cases. This meant that a computer could guess millions of password combinations in only a few minutes, which due to people sucking at setting complex, long and unique passwords, breaking into an account was usually pretty quick.
All cloud services providers seem to be getting better at security and mitigating brute force attacks, which are usually just are not possible any more, mainly due to a maximum password attempt limit being set and locking the account when this limit is hit.
Additionally, iCloud now uses 2nd factor authentication, meaning that you need be in possession of your iOS device when logging into your iCloud account on the internet. When you try to log in, a passcode will appear on the iPhone or iPad screen and you need to enter this before you can continue. Some variations of this process involve only needing to hit “allow” on your iOS device, however this is less secure due to possible user error, and the pin method should be setup.
If using the Google Photos product (default on Android devices and available on iOS), you should enable 2nd factor authentication as it is not enabled by default.
Don’t be a boob about it.
#4 Learn To Spot Phishing Attacks.
Phishing is when a you receive an email (or text message or phone call) that looks like it is from a legitimate service, but is actually a fake. Phishing is such a big problem that is is responsible for the majority of hacks in 2019.
Most of the iCloud accounts that got compromised were by phishing attacks. The victim received an email that looked like it was from Apple requesting some kind of action; usually handing over their password, sending money of clicking a bad link.
Often a phishing email will take you to a fake login site that looks exactly like the iCloud logon page, and entering your password here is giving the hackers your password. Recent phishing emails can be used to bypass 2nd factor authentication, so it really comes down to being vigilant and identifying phishing emails as fakes.
Spot the fake:
- We promise to do an in-depth phishing article in the future, but this just isn’t the place for it. The first line of defense against phishing attacks is to always be skeptical. Verify the source as legitimate whenever possible and if ever in doubt just ignore the email\text message\phone call.
- Most phishing emails are low effort cons, with broken English, misspellings, and blurry or poorly aligned logos and images. Ignore anything that looks sus. If an email is legitimate and you do business with the sender then they will already have alternate methods to contact you.
- Look at the sender’s actual email address. Is it actually email@example.com or is that just what your email client is being tricked into displaying? You should click or tap on the senders name so that it shows you their actual “sent from” address. Remember that firstname.lastname@example.org is not actually from apple.com at all.
- Hover over any links in an email, and always be suspicious if anything doesn’t look right. Learn how to test a suspicious link without following it.
#5 Don’t Reuse Passwords
What is the password for your email account? We know our audience so we can assume it is Tiddiez69. Now what is the password you use for your Facebook account? The same password? And what about for your online banking? Netflix? Twitter? Ashleigh Madison?
People suck at passwords. By nature, we always use the same passwords for every service we are signed up to. It is easy to understand why. The average internet user is signed up to more accounts for more services then they could possibly remember unique complex passwords for. The problem with this is that when that NeoPets account you signed up for 10 years ago is compromised, and you’re still using the same password on accounts you actually still use, you have pretty much just given attackers your login details for your valuable accounts.
Most services will have a “forgot password” option, so if an attacker gets access to your email, they can just use that link to gain access to pretty much everything else.
While banks and many big organizations spend hundreds of millions on IT security, the same isn’t always true for the product used to add comments to that erotic food blog you frequent, and entering your password there may instantly give hackers your details.
#6 Check To See What Breaches You Have Already Been Hacked In
There is a very high chance you are signed up to a service that has been hacked and your user details have been stolen. There is an awesome tool called Have I Been Pwned that will show you where your details were found in known breaches. But remember, Yahoo knew it had been breached and all of its user data stolen for three years before they told anyone about it.
#7 Use A Password Manager
Most people think they are using unique passwords by using Hotgurl91 for one service, and Hotgurl92 for another. If your password is stolen in a breach, hackers use bots that will automatically try variations of known passwords against accounts they want to break in to. Unique passwords need to be truly unique with no common factors. And also, these passwords need to be long, as length beats complexity every time (or so the ladies tell me).
A password manager will generate complex passwords for you for every site you visit and automatically prefill them when you return. There are a lot of password managers available and we do not recommend any in particular, only that you use one.
You should make sure you use a password manager that features full encryption of data at rest and in transit. Open Source products will theoretically offer better security due to publicly audited code, but the feature set of the closed source options is usually better, and for the average user a viable option also.
#8 Update Your Devices
Software updates are a massive pain. Everyone has experienced the pain on needing to use a computer in a hurry only to have to do updates first.
But the primary purpose of updates, whether for your computer, phone, tablet or refrigerator are for security reasons. When a manufacturer becomes aware of an exploit they will create a “patch” that then needs to be applied to stop the exploit from being used.
If you don’t update your device you are more likely to get hacked.
#9 Watch Out For Other Scams
The cybercrime industry is booming and it seems like every two-bit criminal thinks they are Danny Ocean, staging elaborate ruses to trick people out of their money.
Blackmail online is a massive industry all on its own, with victims handing over money, and not uncommonly, nude photos of themselves.
Have you received this scam email before?
“Hello, I hacked your computer. When you were slapping your salami, I was recording you. If you do not send me money\nudes\cooking recipes before the sun sets then I will send your video to everyone in your contact list and all your Facebook friends…”
This email is just a scare tactic and the supposed hacker has nothing on you, so don’t give them anything!
Going no contact is the best policy, but if you really need closure then ask for proof. Unless you see even a single still frame of you all sweaty and salacious, then consider the whole thing a bluff.
Also don’t watch the Shut Up And Dance episode of Black Mirror.
#10 Help Others
Share this article everywhere you can. The more people who read it and know how to stay safe online the better. Put it on your Facebook feed, Tweet about it, Post it to Reddit and link it from your FetLife profile. If this article becomes popular it will turn up in searches for “The Fappening”, and it might even curb the demand for stolen pics.
Any questions or other items you want covered? ask in the comments.
You can zip back up now.