I recently read an article at CNN.com about a young mother of three that took nude pictures of herself. In 2013, she was contacted and asked to pay $3,000 to keep her pictures from being published online. She thinks the perpetrator got her pictures from her stolen phone or laptop. She did not pay. Her nude pictures were leaked online.
In May of this year, more nude photos of her were published online. This time a warrant for her arrest followed. She was charged under Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Act. As I see it, here are a few possible proactive solutions to the problem.
DON’T DO IT
To start, don’t take the pictures. I know, I know, she has a right to take nude pictures of herself. Well, along with rights and choices come responsibilities, pros and cons and consequences.
PROTECT YOUR PHONE
Use a PIN or password to block access to your phone. Even better, if your phone has a fingerprint Touch ID feature, use it. I know many people that do not have any type of authentication on their phone. You can pick up their phone, swipe and have access to the entire phone and all of their files and pictures. If you use a PIN, use the longest pin you can easily remember. On my phone, I can use a 4-digit PIN or an 8-digit PIN. I use an 8-digit PIN. It will be harder for someone to guess the longer number if they have my lost or stolen phone.
If your phone is lost or stolen and you have sensitive information on the phone you do not want people to see, another possible option is to remotely wipe the phone. Please know that wiping the phone TOTALLY ERASES ALL FILES OFF OF THE PHONE.
Remote wipe Android phone
Remote wipe iPhone
PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER
The first line of defense is a user account with a password that is hard for others to guess, but easy for you to remember. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long and it helps stop hackers if there is a symbol, number and upper case letter in your password. I just tested my computer login password. Here is how long it SHOULD take to crack my password.
The next thing you can do is encrypt your sensitive information. Encryption scrambles files so they cannot be read unless you know the password that was used to encrypt the files. On every computer I have ever used, I create a folder called JJONESDATA. I save ALL of my files in that one folder. Having all of my files in one place makes it easy to do backups and encryption. If someone stole my computer and managed to crack my login password, they still would have to crack a different second password to decrypt the files in my JJONESDATA folder. A free and easy to use encryption program is VeraCrypt.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it is not that hard to do. You have to ask yourself, how much is your privacy worth to you?