Tim Cook: Apple to Add Security Alerts for iCloud Users, Broaden Two-Factor Authentication

icloud_icon_blueApple will add security alerts for iCloud users, broaden two-factor authentication and make a more aggressive effort to alert users about protecting their accounts, Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal in his first interview since the recent hacking incident involving celebrities' iCloud accounts.

To make such leaks less likely, Mr. Cook said Apple will alert users via email and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time. Until now, users got an email when someone tried to change a password or log in for the first time from an unknown Apple device; there were no notifications for or restoring iCloud data.

Cook said the new notifications will begin in two weeks and will allow users to take action on potential hacking immediately, allowing them to either change the password to retake the account or alerting Apple's security team. Cook echoed Apple's previous press release on the hackings, stressing that the best prevention for future incidents are more human than technological.

"When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece," he said. "I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing."

Apple will also broaden use of its two-factor authentication system, allowing it to also cover access to iCloud accounts from mobile devices like iPad and iPhone. Cook said the majority of Apple's users don't use two-factor authentication, so the company is planning on aggressively getting its users to turn on the feature. Cook also mentioned that had the celebrities been using two-factor verification, the hackers would not have been able to guess their security questions.

Apple has previously explored expanding two-factor authentication to some iCloud services, but an official expansion of the feature had not yet been introduced.

Top Rated Comments

Swazaloo Avatar
105 months ago
They should have thought this ahead before the damage is already done.
This type of poor management of sensitive data reminds me of Microsoft, ie; Damage control policy, let the bad things happen then look for ways to prevent them from happening again.

Yea and they should have thought about smoking being bad before millions of people died from it. What more do you want? They already have 2-step verification. The more alerts the better.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CEmajr Avatar
105 months ago
Sounds like a typical case of users using weak passwords (which most users tend to do) and hackers using common words to guess them. Amazing that with all the attempted hacking and identity theft and such going around that people still refuse to use complex passwords and security features. Especially celebrities.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trevorbsmith Avatar
105 months ago
Glad that Tim Cook himself is speaking up and Apple is actually showing responsibility by making changes to security. Old Apple under Steve Jobs would stonewall for as long as possible, hoping that the story would go away.

Tim Cook is a fantastic CEO this way. He has done a great job at saying "hey, we screwed up" when they have (and even if they haven't), and saying "hey, we agree, things could be better and we're going to make sure they are."
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0xyMoron Avatar
105 months ago
They should have thought this ahead before the damage is already done.
This type of poor management of sensitive data reminds me of Microsoft, ie; Damage control policy, let the bad things happen then look for ways to prevent them from happening again.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trevorbsmith Avatar
105 months ago
So when the so called hacker is already restoring all the data to a phone or a forensic program all we get is an e-mail telling us "hey all your dumb selfies are being downloaded by an unknown person"?

Not if you enable 2-factor authentication. Then they will not be able to change your password, so they won't be able to get at your iCloud data.

Also, as the article said, Apple is also going to expand 2-factor authentication so, presumably, even if you know someone's password, you STILL won't be able to restore/slurp their iCloud backups without also having access to one of their trusted devices.

Most importantly, he points out that most of their customers CHOOSE not to use 2-factor authentication. (Which is THE CUSTOMER'S FAULT, not Apple's.) And they are going to start harassing customers to smarten up and use it.

There is nothing more Apple can do than that.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wlossw Avatar
105 months ago
They need to halt the restore until you authorize the action either with trusted device or secure backup key... Notification after the fact, is of questionable value...
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...