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OpSec for Celebrities

Posted by Ricardo Bánffy at Sep 01, 2014 11:50 PM |
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In the wake of, again, leaked nude pictures of celebrities, a little crash course can be useful. It doesn't matter it's wrong to force access to private data and it doesn't matter the perpetrators will eventually be caught and punished. Someone else will do it again. They always do. Below you'll find some tips you may want to follow, even if you are not a celebrity.

In the wake of, again, leaked nude pictures of celebrities, a little crash course can be useful. It doesn't matter it's wrong to force access to private data and it doesn't matter the perpetrators will eventually be caught and punished. Someone else will do it again. They always do.

Below you'll find some tips you may want to follow, even if you are not a celebrity.

  1. Buy a camera without any connectivity (if it comes with USB cables, lose them). DO NOT use your smartphone. DO NOT use a dumbphone.
  2. Never, ever, download photos you don't want to become public to a computer that syncs your data (through Google, OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, whatever). If you really need to download them (really, you don't), keep a separate computer not connected to any network, use an external disk for your data and disconnect it before connecting the computer to a network to update it.
  3. You probably don't need to get throwaway computers paid with cash by trusted third parties, but you need to keep your computers clean. If you run Windows, use an anti-virus. If you can, don't use Windows. You also don't need Abobe Flash or Java either. Disable every plug-in. Don't use easy to guess passwords. Lie on the security questions.
  4. Never, ever, send those photos through messaging, e-mail or anything else. Consider the people who run those systems and how willing you are to entrust them your most intimate secrets. You probably shouldn't.
  5. If possible, use drives that encrypt data before writing them to physical media. Do not rely on encryption that runs on your computer. If possible, use multiple layers of cryptography. Use VPNs to both hide your location and your data.
  6. If possible, delete the pictures. Overwrite with decent disk erasers and reinstall the machine from trusted media regularly. Hammers may not be enough - the flash memory can usually be recovered and read.
  7. Your wi-fi or cable router is not your friend. It may, in fact, be your enemy. DO NOT trust it.
  8. If at all possible, don't take those pictures. Celebrities are public persons and, with that, comes the loss of privacy. Imagine yourself as a secret agent. Do you really want to keep nuclear launch codes on your phone?
  9. You are NOT smarter than these guys and they have much more free time than you do.
  10. Most important: understand everything can become public at some point in the future. Have a plan detailing what you'll do when your data leaks.