Apple steps up account security following celebrity pics leak

Tim Cook reveals plans are afoot to tighten up account security in the wake of this week's celebrity picture leak scandal

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple is planning to send out security alerts to iPhone and iPad users whenever an attempt is made to change their account passwords, in the wake of this week's iCloud controversy.

The consumer electronic giant's CEO Tim Cook revealed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that plans are afoot to make it harder for hackers to access users' accounts.

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Apple users will soon receive email and push notifications whenever an attempt to change their password occurs, or if a request is made to restore iCloud data to a new device.

Alerts will also be sent out whenever someone tries to login with their Apple ID from a previously unknown Apple device.

Cook also told the publication that Apple will be taking steps to encourage more users to activate two-factor authentication on their devices when iOS 8 drops in the next few weeks.

Furthermore, he said more needs to be done to raise awareness within the Apple user base about how to lockdown their devices, in light of this week's scandal about leaked celebrity photographs online.

As reported by IT Pro earlier this week, hundreds of private pictures belonging to female celebrities, including Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, were published online without their permission.

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Industry watchers were quick to point the finger at Apple's online storage service iCloud for the leak, claiming the pictures ended up in the public domain because hackers managed to breach the system.

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Apple went on to staunchly deny this claim, and said the leak was the result of a "targeted attack" on its usernames, passwords and security questions, not an iCloud breach.

In apparent reference to this, Cook said: "When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece.

"I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."

The changes are to be introduced within the next two weeks, Apple added.

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