THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. -

The iCloud has become a popular way not only to share music, pictures, and movies, but it's also a virtual storage place - relied on by more and more people as a backup system for personal information.

"I just wonder security about it, you know, if it's out there," said Palm Springs resident Gregory Goodman.
     
Now, it's part of the controversy surrounding leaked nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton. A hacker apparently stole some of those pictures from Apple's iCloud service.
    
"You know, there are people who just come in, just like using credit cards online, or having important confidential information online - you know you are always subject to someone getting into that information," said Mitch Ellainsworth, a Geek Squad technology education agent at Best Buy in Palm Desert.

Apple, Google, and Amazon, who offer the cloud service, go to extra lengths to protect its users from hackers. So, how can you be sure the information you store on the cloud is safe? The answer is - you can't. But, there are some protective measures you can take.

"You're always vulnerable, that's why it's always wise to be cautious," said Ellainsworth.

1. Start with your password.

It's your strongest defense from becoming a victim. You've probably heard it before, but change your password periodically, once a month, even once a week - and make it unique.

"What I like to do is substitute numbers for letters, you know 3's and E's and O's and 0's, that way it still looks like a word, but to a computer, its just numbers and letters,"  said Ellainsworth.

2. Don't access personal information using public Wi-Fi.

Once on a network - there are a number of ways hackers can retrieve passwords - especially weaker ones.
     
3. Don't just rely on the cloud for your personal information. Once it's stolen or lost, you may not be able to recover it.

"It's always recommended to have backups, you know whether it be on a thumb drive, a portable thumb drive," said Ellainsworth.

4. Most importantly, avoid uploading sensitive material or information you just really don't want exposed.

A hard lesson learned for Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. Apple says it's actively investigating and the FBI is now looking into the case.

How to protect your data in the cloud

POSTED: 08:33 AM PDT Sep 02, 2014    UPDATED: 08:35 AM PDT Sep 02, 2014 

The recent celebrity photo hacking scandal has raised plenty of questions about how to protect information that's stored in the cloud. While there's no silver bullet that will make you completely safe from hackers, there are some precautions you can take to help keep sensitive information private.

Protect data online - Passwords - 1
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The recent celebrity photo hacking scandal has raised plenty of questions about how to protect information that's stored in the cloud. While there's no silver bullet that will make you completely safe from hackers, there are some precautions you can take to help keep sensitive information private.