Celebrity Photo Leaks Push Apple to Focus on Security

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Celebrity Photo Leaks Push Apple to Focus on Security
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook
By Arnab Sen

Apple (AAPL) is making strong efforts to assuage users' fears after taking the heat in the celebrity photo leak scandal that emerged over the Labor Day weekend.

Apple CEO Tim Cook provided details of how the company handles users' personal information and reassured customers about Apple's commitment toward their privacy, in a letter published on its website.

"We don't build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't "monetize" the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you," Cook wrote in the letter.

Apple has never worked with any government agency to give access to its products, services and servers and would never do that in the future, Cook added.

After the leak of racy celebrity photos, cybersecurity experts and mobile developers called out inadequacies in Apple's and, more generally, cloud-services security.

Some security experts faulted Apple for failing to make its devices and software easier to secure through two-factor authentication, which requires a separate verification code after users log in initially.

Cook, in his letter, encouraged customers to use the two-step verification process and said it now protects all the data stored in iCloud along with protecting Apple ID account information.

Cook said users would get updates on privacy at the company at least once a year and about any significant change to its policies.

Last week, Apple unveiled a watch, two larger iPhones and a mobile payments service in an effort to revive the technology company's reputation as a wellspring of innovation.

8 Best Things to Buy in September
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Celebrity Photo Leaks Push Apple to Focus on Security
Although summer isn't officially over until Sept. 23, most people consider summer a done deal at the end of August. As such, summer gardening season comes to a screeching halt and seeds, flowers and other gardening goods aren't as popular of a purchase. "Nurseries want to offload their inventory before the official end of summer," explains Tran. "We've seen markdowns ranging from 20 percent to 75 percent off."
The iPhone 6 release date is scheduled for early September, which means several things. First, the older models -- even if they've never been opened -- will instantly lose some of their value as they're deemed "old news." It also means that pre-owned iPhones will hit the used market as consumers trade in their goods for the latest version. According to data by NextWorth, iPhones drastically lose their value six weeks before the new phone launches and hit their lowest price at the time of the launch. This low price remains steady through the end of the year.
If there's one thing we know for certain, it's that denim will never go out of style. It's especially on trend throughout the fall, though, as it keeps you warm, comfortable and fashionable. "Hot tag" prices on denim also serve as a way to get shoppers in the door to buy other cool-weather duds that, most likely, aren't on sale.
Most shoppers have already purchased their new patio furniture, decor and grills for the year. In fact, many are already thinking about putting them into storage, which is why all outdoor furniture, umbrellas, lighting, grilling supplies and similar merchandise is being put on clearance. "Look for markdowns in the 60 percent to 75 percent range as retailers clear room for next season's merchandise," says Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com. While discounts may deepen as the month goes on, there will be less to choose from, so plan accordingly.
At the beginning of every school year, you can pretty much count on retailers going into panic mode as they realize they have way too many pens, erasers, folders, pencils and other school supplies left over from the back to school rush. Their plan? A sale, of course. Tran says that savings will generally fall into the 25 percent to 75 percent off range for these excess school supplies. Consider stocking up on items you may need throughout the year, or buy items you can use at the beginning of the next school year.
Just as grilling and gardening wane at the beginning of summer, so does bicycle riding. Even if you're not planning to ride a new bike in the coming months, it's a wise investment to make if you foresee yourself needing one for next spring. Expect to find slashed prices on bikes for riders of all ages at both online and local stores.
We're not saying you should run out and buy a car just for the heck of it. That said, if you need a new vehicle, shopping around now is a wise idea. ConsumerReports says that next year's models hit the car lot in late summer through fall, which means 2014 models are appropriately discounted. Make sure you get the best price.
It may seem overkill to plan your Thanksgiving and December holiday adventures in September, but your wallet will thank you for doing so. The best time to buy plane tickets is six to eight weeks in advance for domestic flights, and 11 to 12 weeks in advance for international flights. To ensure you snag a good deal, sign up for price alerts and airline emails on specials and price decreases. In addition to shopping around for your plane tickets, BankRate.com says that "several industry experts recommend booking your car as soon as possible." You can also save money when booking things together, such as a hotel, car and flights.
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