" --IANS/EFE"
Washington, Sep 5 (IANS/EFE) Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that a new security alert will be incorporated in the storage system in iCloud within the next two weeks to prevent leaks such as the one that occurred last weekend involving intimate photos of Hollywood stars.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Thursday, his first after the scandal broke, Cook explained that the mechanism would serve to alert users when there is an attempt to restore iCloud data.

The alert will allow the user to take immediate action by changing the password and regain control of the account or alert Apple's security team.

Until now, the users received email notifications when someone tried to change their password or when a device logged into an account for the first time.

But there were no notifications on attempts to restore the content stored in iCloud.

However, Cook emphasised that the most important measures to ensure the security of iCloud content is not the technological factor but safer, stronger passwords and the two-factor authentication system.

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, he said.

Last week, private photographs of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, were leaked and released online.

However, Apple insisted that the incident was not due to a breach of its systems, saying that the hackers most likely provided correct answers to the security questions asked when one forgets a password, or were victims of a phishing scam.

The company recommended activating the two-factor verification method, currently optional for Apple users, that requires people to confirm their identity before allowing them to change the settings of the service or make purchases.

According to Apple, the leaks of the celebrity pictures would not have happened if they had activated this two-factor verification because the hackers would not have been able to guess the answers to the security questions.

After an investigation post-scandal, Apple ruled out that a failing of its own systems led to the leak of the photos of celebrities in the nude or in sensual poses.

The team that investigated the incident arrived at that conclusion after more than 40 hours in which they discovered that the leaks occurred due to a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, the Apple said.

On Monday, it emerged that the photographs released online came from iCloud, Apple's online storage service, raising doubts about the company's security systems protecting the privacy of its clients.

A number of celebrities whose leaked photos appeared on social networking sites, including Lawrence, have confirmed the authenticity of at least some of the photos.

Lawrence has threatened to press charges against anyone who publishes the photos first posted on the image sharing website 4Chan signed Anonymous and which later turned up on social networking sites such as Twitter and Reddit, among many others.

The victims include Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Victoria Justice, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, Lea Michelle, Mary Kate Olsen and Kirsten Dunst, according to Buzzfeed.com, which reported the leak but did not publish the photos.

--IANS/EFE

ab/vm


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