One of the biggest stories in the past week has been the Jennifer Lawrence Nude Picture Leak. Even though over 100 female celebrities were affected by hackers to their Apple devices, for some reason Lawrence’s name is the one most attached to the infamous incident. On August 31 pictures of the celebrities first appeared on image-sharing website 4chan. While Apple has claimed that the hack was caused by “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions” as opposed to “any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone,” many are still criticizing the tech empire.
Apple has branded itself as being user-friendly. Unfortunately, this emphasis on accessibility comes with a more relaxed attitude towards security features. The Wall Street Journal has quoted Ashkan Soltani, an independent security researcher who has worked with them in the past, that “more often than not, Apple chooses to err on the side of usability to make it easier for the user that gets locked out from their kid’s baby photos than to employ strong protections for the high-risk individuals.”
It makes sense that security and user-friendly lie on opposite sides of the spectrum. With everything from the social media accounts used to share family photos to online accounts to pay bills, it might seem like more trouble than it’s worth for the average person to create a strong and truly unique password for every account. Apple markets itself to this person, not the celebrity who constantly worries about privacy violations. However, I can’t help feeling that the average consumer should worry more like a celebrity.
Everyone remembers the backlash Target experienced after its hacking scandal in 2013. The average American learned what was at stake when security is not the top priority. So why is Apple still marketing itself as user-friendly? Why not pay more attention to the opposite end of the spectrum? While there’s a multitude of aspects that could affect that decision, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has to do with users’ willingness to use security measures.
Soltani’s comment about making devices easier for users to access their information rather than keeping hackers from accessing their information speaks volumes about how users want their security handled. While Americans were upset with Target for mishandling their personal information, they seem to be willing to take shortcuts in their own security measures just to make things easier on themselves.
Whether it’s because the saying that ‘Americans are lazy’ is true, or that we’re all so distracted with so many online accounts to focus on their security features, I have no way of showing the right answer. I do know that the past has shown that we’d rather have our security handled for us, which is a luxury that this latest celebrity scandal has proven we cannot afford.
A few days ago I was talking with a coworker about all the customers we see experiencing problems with their cell phones or tablets. They become angry when they cannot figure out how to instantly connect to the internet, have better cell phone service, etc. People use these tech devices on a regular basis, yet many seem confused about how they work. It’s probably time we all sit down and really learn about the technology that we rely on every day.
wicker_man. iPhone. 6 Nov. 2008. Online image. Flickr. 7 Sept. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/5A3Kon