In this article, we’ll be sharing our tips for keeping your private photos and personal data safe from hackers…
Despite increasing legislation to criminalise revenge porn, and introducing the making indecent images offence, there still appears to be a growing issue with people sharing indecent and image-based sexual abuse online. Recent headlines and documentaries such as “The Most Hated Man on the Internet” highlight how much of a problem this really is.
In this article, we’ll be sharing tips on how to keep your private photos and personal data safe from hackers in 2022…
What is Image-Based Sexual Abuse?
The sharing of nude or semi-nude images – often referred to as ‘revenge porn’ – can cause extreme distress to victims when discovered. Often, a considerable length of time can pass before the victim is even aware that there are photographs of them online. Not only does this cause personal distress and humiliation to the victim, but it also has the potential to damage their reputation.
How Can You Keep Your Photos Safe
Despite the new legislation, including the planned ‘cyber flashing’ law, the sharing of image-based sexual abuse remains a problem in the UK. In this section, we’ll look at the ways in which you can keep your photographs and data safe:
We’ve all been guilty of choosing a simple password that we’ll easily remember but this can be an open door for hackers. Instead, try to choose a more complicated password which isn’t related to your personal information. Having a password that is at least 10 characters long is recommended. As well as using a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters and symbols. You should also try to change your password every few months and use two-factor authentication where possible.
Stay private in public
Whenever you venture out of the house, you’ll come across countless shops, restaurants, coffee shops and pubs proudly offering free Wi-Fi. While this may seem like a good way of saving money, these public hotspots are rarely secure. When out and about, avoid using these where possible and, if you do connect to one of these hotspots, always make sure that your Bluetooth is switched off.
In 2022, downloading articles, music, photos, and movies couldn’t be easier. However, doing this also makes it easy for cybercriminals to insert viruses into your devices in order to steal your information. While we’re not saying that you shouldn’t download content to your devices, it’s good practice to only do so from a known and trusted source.
If you have an iPhone, you may not be aware that as well as being stored on your actual device, every picture you take is also uploaded to Apple’s iCloud. While Apple insists that iCloud is secure, the number of celebrities claiming that their images have been hacked suggests otherwise. It’s a good idea to switch off automatic iCloud sharing to help protect your images. You can do this by accessing settings, going to iCloud and then scrolling down to your photo, using the slide option to switch it off. If you want to add an extra layer of security, you can even switch iCloud off completely by scrolling to the bottom of the menu and clicking on ‘Delete Account’.
Every day 3.2 billion images and over 720,000 hours of video are shared by social media users. Sadly, some of these users play fast and lose with their security. If you’re in the habit of sharing your photos on Facebook, you should always pay close attention to your security settings.
When posting photographs, use the pulldown menu to select who can see your pictures and always avoid using the ‘public’ option. To set more comprehensive security settings, click on the padlock in the top right-hand corner then go to ‘who can see my stuff?’. Selecting ‘Friends’ on the pulldown menu will help to keep prying eyes out of your account. There is also an option to choose specific people who can and cannot see your content. While this may be a little time-consuming, this can protect your data from people that you don’t know well.
Similarly, you should check and update the security settings on all of your other social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram.
What to do if You Think Your Data Has Been Hacked?
If you have reason to suspect that your data or photographs have been hacked, the following steps will help to limit the damage:
- Screenshot any evidence of hacking
- Change your passwords
- Contact the platform that photographs have been shared on, for example, Facebook or Instagram and ask for the shared images to be removed
- Contact a solicitor for advice on taking further action
In the UK, it is against the law to access somebody else’s computer without permission. Those found guilty of doing so can face a fine of £5000 and even up to two years in prison.
Keeping Your Photos Safe
Despite increasing legislation to ban image-based sexual abuse and hold preparators accountable, there are still many hackers out there. It is therefore important to take the appropriate measures to protect your personal data.
Remember to also be mindful of what you’re sharing online as this can help make sure that your data and photographs remain safe and secure.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a criminal lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on image-based sexual abuse. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.