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Private Photo Theft on Instagram

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Today there have been myriad gossip articles centered on celebrity nude photos hacked from smart phones. While this certainly garners a lot of retweets and shares, it draws focus ever so slightly away from the tangential and serious problem of online privacy and private photos. Victims of private from tablets, smart phones, computers, and cloud storage share their distaste for the event in question and many of them ask followers not to view the images in a Scouts honor arrangements. What they fail to speak of is how serious this issue is and how prevalent.

Hackers and What they Steal

hackersOnline privacy is a contentious issue, one which is constantly in flux. Hackers are stealing private photos from around the world. Many of these hackers are the same people who can infiltrate Webcams just for the sake of seeing what is out there, unfiltered. One of the greatest sources for private photo theft though are social networks, and in particular, photo based social networks like Instagram.

Privacy Settings on Profiles

webMany users today go to great lengths to be cognizant of the risks and think putting privacy settings on user accounts is sufficient protection. Private profiles with private photos are generally thought to be safe from infiltration which is why many people are much more lax about what types of photos, especially illicit ones, they share on such profiles. Unfortunately, simply making a profile private does not protect against hackers. What it does do, however, is protect the public from being able to view the photos. Most of the time photos which are made public or have not been specifically set to a private can be found by anyone online using the right search words or search parameters. Once found they can be used in any way, shape, or form. Not every user wants their photos to be shared or used in other places. Users are often surprised to find that a picture they took has since been used on a business pamphlet in a different country or has popped up on a website which did not ask for permission from the user. These events are all too common and are of course the moderate end of what could happen once photos are stolen from private computers or profiles.

What to do for Protection

In order to protect against such theft, the most obvious thing to do is to get rid of your account. Users need to know how to deactivate Instagram in order to do this, the steps for which are offered on the website. Alternatively, users can simply accept the fact that photos they post may or may not be still in much the way that car owners accept the fact that somebody could theoretically break into their car. Additional safety measures and protection can be put into place. For example, users can avoid placing any compromising photos private or otherwise knowing that once they are live on the Internet, they are fair game and could be hacked.

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