How to protect your iCloud account

If you haven’t heard, iCloud security is a hot topic these days. From claims that China infiltrated Apple with hidden spy chips (reports that Apple vigorously denies) to last year’s threats from the “Turkish Crime Family” regarding stolen account passwords, it’s understandable if you’re worried about how safe your iCloud data is.

You can learn more about how Apple works on end-to-end encryption that has thus far kept iCloud largely safe from hackers. But there’s plenty you can do on your end to help make iCloud safer and well protected as well. Here are the basic steps you should to increase your iCloud security.

Step 1: Create a strong password

Apple Password

The password you use for iCloud is the same password for your Apple account. Apple requires that this password must be at least eight characters long, use upper and lowercase letters, and have at least one number, but we can do a lot better.

Reset your Apple ID password and make it as strong as possible. That means around 15 characters, both upper and lowercase letters, multiple numbers, and symbols. If you’re worried about remembering a random string of characters, a common tactic is to take a familiar phrase or word and exchange letters for numbers and symbols. However, if you want to invest time in a dedicated password manager, the software can come up with very strong passwords for you. Password managers are becoming increasingly important in today’s digital security environment, so if you don’t use one yet it’s certainly worth considering.

Step 2: Set up your security questions if necessary

Apple Security Questions

If you haven’t visited your Apple ID in a while, you may not have gotten a chance to set up any security questions. These questions work just like the security questions for any thorough online security portal — you set a few specific questions about your life with answers that strangers would never know. Apple will ask these questions when you log into your Apple account or make big changes.

To find your security questions, log into your Apple account with your ID and password, and look for the section that says “Security.” On the right-hand side of the page, select the Edit button to expand the section so you can examine the Security Questions heading. . If you haven’t added any questions, you will see an option to “Add Questions.” If you have set questions up but want to check and refine them, you will see an option to “Change Questions.”

Note: Some people cannot see an option to set up security questions when they log into Apple ID. If you don’t see this option, you can skip this step: This happens when someone sets up two-factor authentication, which overrides the need for security questions and may erase from your account info.

Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication

Apple Two-Factor Authentication

Apple used to have “two-step verification” but upgraded to “two-factor authentication” which is an effective method of making sure that the real you is accessing your account from one of your real devices. Basically, this authentication sets up a trusted device and/or phone number that Apple will send a verification code to when you try to log in from an unrecognized device.

If you haven’t already done so, turning on two-factor authentication is a simple processiPhone Two-Factor Authentication. If you have already logged into your Apple account online, you can go to the Security section and look at the section for Two-Factor Authentication, which will take you through the process of setting it up. You can also set up the authentication at any time on your iPhone by going to “Settings, Password & Security,” and enabling “Two-Factor Authentication.”

Again, remember that two-factor authentication will probably cancel out your security questions. We encourage you to set up security questions first so that they (hopefully) remain associated with your account in case support staff needs to verify your identity or something goes wrong with the authentication. However, you are perfectly free to skip right to the two-factor authentication if you want.

Step 4: Always sign out when not using your devices

iPhone XS Max
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Finally, always be aware if you are signing into your Apple account on a public device or a device that isn’t yours. This isn’t a very good idea (especially when connected to guest Wi-Fi), but sometimes it may be necessary. Just remember to log back out from your account when you are finished.

In a similar vein, don’t give out your Apple ID or password to anyone if you aren’t sure it’s an official Apple login or representative.


Is Threadripper dead? If so, AMD has made a huge mistake

Think Threadripper is dead? Think again. AMD's flagship CPU line might not be on this year's roadmap, but it's not dead and could well bring some amazing new enhancements when it returns.
Home Theater

How to wall mount a TV: Tips and tricks to cut down on frustration

This how-to guide includes a video on how to wall mount a TV, along with other tips and tricks about the process. Step by step, we'll take you through what you have to do to successfully get your TV on your wall.
Social Media

Save me: How to download Instagram photos from any device

Browsing photos in Instagram is one thing, but saving them is another. Until recently, it wasn't easy to get your pics and data off the 'gram and saved elsewhere, but now you can download Instagram photos with just a few clicks.

Save your hard-earned cash by learning how to gameshare with friends on PS4

Much like the now-ancient process of mixing CD collections, modern consoles allow you to share your game library with a friend and save some money in the process. Here's our step-by-step guide for how to gameshare on PS4.

Want to share your Xbox One games with a friend? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Product Review

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 launched last year, but already feels old

Released in fall of 2018, the Surface Laptop 2 was competitive at the time but now must deal with new competitors that were announced at CES 2019. How does the popular Surface Laptop 2 hold up six months later?

Cybercrime gang that stole $100M busted in international effort

A major cybercrime gang that used powerful malware to steal an estimated $100 million from bank accounts has been dismantled following an international effort that spanned six countries.

G-Sync is a game-changer. These are the best monitors with Nvidia's display tech

Looking for a monitor that plays well with Nvidia GPUs? You need G-Sync and we have picked the best G-Sync monitors available. Take a look and find out which monitor works best for your PC upgrade.

Microsoft is discounting this Surface Laptop 2 by a sweet $300

Microsoft is offering a nearly 14-inch Surface Laptop 2 with 256GB of storage at a $300 discount until May 18, 2019. The laptop comes with a PixelSense display, and Intel Core i5 processor and a 720p HD camera.
Product Review

Looking for discrete graphics on the cheap? The Acer Swift 3 will do the trick

The Acer Swift 3 is a tweener laptop that’s not quite budget and not quite premium – and it feels and performs accordingly. It manages to hold its own, though, thanks to its discrete GPU.

The Razer Core X Chroma is the best external GPU you can buy

The third entry in Razer's lineup of external graphics card enclosures, the Core X Chroma, brings together the best of its previous options in a single package. With RGB lighting and extra USB ports, is this the best you can buy?

Google recalls Titan Security Key due to hijack risk

Google is offering a free replacement for the Bluetooth Low Energy version of the Titan Security Key. A misconfiguration was discovered in the device, though hackers looking to exploit the vulnerability will find it difficult to do so.

Whether you want to edit, sign, or append, PDFs, these are the best PDF editors

While there are plenty of PDF editor options online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.