How secure is iCloud?

We look at how secure Apple's popular cloud storage offering is as part of our wider cloud storage roundup

Apple has built up a reputation for excellent security. Although its iCloud platform had its reputation tarnished briefly when it fell victim to a high-profile hack in 2017, the service continues that trend by offering users a robust set of security features. 

"iCloud is built with industry-standard security technologies, employs strict policies to protect your information and is leading the industry by adopting privacy-preserving technologies like end-to-end encryption for your data," Apple's iCloud web page promises

Like Dropbox, iCloud uses SSL to encrypt data in transit, although it uses AES 128-bit encryption rather than the more secure 256-bit used by Dropbox. The only exception to this is in the iCloud keychain, used to store and transmit passwords and other sensitive user data, which uses 256-bit encryption.

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However, privacy has become a focus for the company in recent years, making a big deal out of the fact that encryption keys are created at the device level and that Apple can’t access these itself, or any of the data that you might need to decrypt them.

Like many other platforms, iCloud provides security tokens for added authentication when accessing other apps through it, as well as two-factor authentication at login.

History of iCloud hacking

iCloud has actually maintained a solid track record when it comes to security, although one incident served to tarnish its reputation.

In 2017, iCloud came under intense scrutiny after hackers breached around 50 accounts belonging to celebrities and leaked their contents online. Although the incident was actually the result of successful phishing attacks against a select group of celebrities, the integrity of Apple’s cloud platform was called into question. Even now, the 2017 iCloud hack remains one of the most famous data leaks in history.

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