Posted Sep. 5, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.

Apple beefing up security after celebrity photo hacking

Published: 2014-09-05 12:36:27
Updated: 2014-09-05 12:36:27


Apple is planning to add more security measures to help protect its users following a celebrity photo hacking incident.

CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal that Apple Inc. will use email and push notifications to let users know when someone tries to restore iCloud data on a new device, change an account password or attempts an initial log on to an account with a new device. Previously there were no notifications for restoring iCloud data, but users did receive an email when someone tried to change a password or log in for the first time from a new device.

"In his first interview on the subject, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said celebrities' iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers correctly answered security questions to obtain their passwords, or when they were victimized by a phishing scam to obtain user IDs and passwords," the Journal reported.

Apple expects to start sending notifications in two weeks. The iPhone maker said the new security being implemented will allow users to change passwords to reclaim control of an account or notify Apple's security team about a potential problem.

"When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece," Cook told the Journal. "I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."

An Apple spokesman confirmed the report Friday but declined to comment further than what was said in the interview.

On Tuesday Apple acknowledged computer hackers broke into the accounts of several celebrities, a security breakdown that the company blamed on the intruders' ability to figure out passwords and bypass other safeguards.

Apple said that it found no evidence of a widespread problem in iCloud or its Find my iPhone service. Instead, the affected celebrity accounts were targeted by hackers who had enough information to know the usernames, passwords and answers to personal security questions designed to thwart unauthorized entries, according to Apple. Knowing this crucial information would enable an outsider to break into Apple accounts, including iCloud, and many other types of online accounts.

Apple's plans to add more security measures comes just days before the company is expected to unveil new products in Cupertino, California. A larger iPhone, a possibly a computerized watch, are among the items being anticipated.

On Wednesday rival Samsung showed off two new smartphones at a Berlin trade show. Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge phone, which has a side display for quicker access to the flashlight, Twitter, news and other apps. It also unveiled a new Galaxy Note 4 phone and a virtual-reality headset for the phone called Gear VR to watch concerts or play games.

Shares of Apple added 85 cents to $98.97 in Friday morning trading.

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