How to Protect Your Private Photos on Your Computer

Actress Jennifer Lawrence’s case shows the importance of caution with personal information

The security of information stored on computers and smartphones has returned to the news with the case of actress Jennifer Lawrence . Private photos of the actress ended up in sites on the internet and Apple is investigating the incident .

The possibility of that happening with famous people is greater, since they are natural targets for those who want to make money with blackmail. But the leak of photos can also occur with ordinary people who do not take the necessary precautions.

The first and most effective tip to prevent intimate photos stop on the internet is simply not taking pictures. But, for various reasons, many people do not follow this guideline.

In these cases, steps can increase the security of the photos and make life difficult for anyone who wants to access them without authorization. Check out the tips.

Use two-step authentication

Various web services, including the iCloud and Google services, use the authentication method known as two-step verification. This method requires, in addition to the password, a code sent to your cell phone at the time of login. So even if a hacker knows your password, he would need another given to access to your account.

See these links more information about two-step authentication for services of Google, Apple and Microsoft.

Protect folders on the PC and on mobile

If you prefer to keep your photos on your computer, use a program to protect the folder where they are. The Folder Lock is a paid software that protects files and folders with encryption. There are also free options for this function, such as Easy File Locker.

This caution must also be done on your smartphone. There are some programs on the market that protect the photos stored on smartphones with password. For iPhone, the programs that protect folders can be found in the Utilities section of the App Store. Among them are the Secure Folder and Your Secret Folder. For Android, an option for this function is the Private Gallery-Encrypt Photo, available in the app store Google Play.

Avoid obvious passwords

It ain’t no use to use cloud services or protection if the password used is too easy. Avoid passwords with sequential numbers or repeated, names of relatives or dates of birth. This information is easily obtained or guessed.

Among the tips for creating stronger passwords are switch casing and use special characters ($, @,!, #, and others). It is also a good idea to use multiple passwords. So, if a hacker can get a password to a particular service, she will not allow access to others.

Do not store photos on Facebook or on email

In theory, Facebook can be used to store private photos. Simply download the images and mark them as private. The problem is that, by default, the photos are seen by all and it is easy to get confused when transferring the image. For these reasons, it’s not a good idea to use Facebook or another social network to keep private photos.

Very popular email services are among the first targets of hackers who want information about a person. With the name of a person on hand, many criminals obtain e-mail address from trial and error. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use a mail service to save copies of photos.

Avoid storing photos in Flash drives

Flash drives are small, easy to lose and forget. So, it’s a bad idea to walk around with a flash drive with private content.

Keep an up-to-date antivirus

The most common way that hackers use to gain access to PCs is through viruses. In most cases, the user is tricked into clicking on a malicious link, that infects your computer. The most effective way to avoid this kind of problem is keeping an updated antivirus, plus avoid clicking on suspicious links or sent by strangers.

To delete, you can use a file destructor

Even when they are deleted from the Recycle Bin, files remain on the hard disk and, in some cases, they can be easily retrieved with file-recovery programs.

To delete a file once it is best to use a file shredding program. A few options for doing this are TuneUp Utilities, Eraser Portable and File Shredder, available on download sites. Before deleting the files, these programs “scramble” the bits that make up the document. Thus, the file recovery with commercial tools is virtually impossible.

Before sending assistance, erase your tracks

If the computer gave your problem, be careful to remove pictures and other personal information before sending it to service center. Back up personal files and delete whatever it takes using a destructor (detailed in the previous tip).

Erase all your browser navigation history. The path varies depending on the browser, but the privacy controls are usually under the item tools or options.

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